Although "grow your own" principal preparation programs have become a popular method for recruiting and selecting administrator candidates for hard to fill positions in both urban and rural schools, “grow your own” prinicpal candidates in rural contexts may be more vulnerable to the phenomenon of loss of self-efficacy. This study suggests that conditions related to candidate recruitment, social isolation, changing relationships with former colleagues, and lack of mentoring support can negatively affect aspiring principals’ beliefs and ultimately actions in leading rural schools. This study examines the loss of self-efficacy phenomenon, and suggests how university /school district partnerships might work to develop effective recruitment, support, and mentoring practices for rural 'grow your own' candidates.

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