Cailen M. O'Shea https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4017-1379

Sarah J. Zuckerman https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3330-6431


This qualitative study compares the instructional leadership practices of rural and non-rural principals, seeking to understand contextually based differences in how principals create a focus on teaching and learning. Principals across settings report similarities in instructional leadership tasks; however, they reported significant contextual differences in how they are carried out. These include the use of formal distributed leadership in non-rural schools and informal distributed leadership in rural schools. Additionally, rural principals report adaptive practices that shape policy implementation in ways that support people-centered leadership. We conclude with areas for additional research: the unique demands of the role of principal-superintendent; how principals make sense of multiple messages about instructional leadership; and the qualitative aspects of instructional leadership that support principal effectiveness.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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