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A Case Study of Teacher Hiring Practices in Award Winning Middle Schools in Pennsylvania

Miller, Claire L. (2004) A Case Study of Teacher Hiring Practices in Award Winning Middle Schools in Pennsylvania. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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A CASE STUDY OF TEACHER HIRING PRACTICES IN AWARD WINNING MIDDLE SCHOOLS IN PENNSYLVANIAClaire L. Miller, EdDUniversity of Pittsburgh, 2004_________________________________________Given the lack of specific middle level teacher preparation in Pennsylvania, along with the implications of No Child Left Behind legislation, this case study investigated how principals of award winning middle schools resolve these issues in terms of the hiring and development of middle-level educators in order to sustain excellence in their schools. The knowledge of the essential elements of an effective middle school, the pedagogical expertise needed to effectively instruct transescents and the personal attributes of candidates were examined as possible factors in the hiring process.Data was collected by taping personal interviews and by examining district artifacts regarding interviewing procedures, as well as the application packets for either the National Blue Ribbon Award or the PMSA Don Eichhorn Award for Outstanding Middle Schools. Interview questions posed to the principals sought to discern their perceptions of the key personal qualities and pedagogical knowledge that they were searching for in outstanding middle school teacher candidates. Questions were also posed to address the district's practices for induction, mentoring, and professional development of new and existing staff members in order to build a capacity for best middle level practices. Finally, the principal's own path to the principalship of an award winning middle school was explored. By studying the processes used in award-winning middle schools for teacher selection, mentoring and induction programs, and on-going professional development programs, the researcher sought to reveal the patterns and themes consistent among these schools, in order to draw conclusions and make recommendations about how other principals could build the staff capacity to become an outstanding middle school. Four themes emerged from the research. Middle school principals utilized a unique interview process in order to hire the best middle level teacher candidates. An emphasis was placed on the personal qualities of the candidates, rather than their pedagogical knowledge or experience. Award-winning middle schools nurtured an environment of collegial learning. Finally, under the leadership of the principal, the award-winning middle schools built a culture of continuous improvement. Results from this study supported the notion that hiring the right people was at the core of sustaining an excellent middle level program.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Miller, Claire
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairWerlinich, Joseph S
Committee MemberSchaughency, Betty Sue
Committee MemberAtman, Kay
Committee MemberWallace, Richard
Committee MemberGoodwin, Sue Ann
Date: 13 December 2004
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 16 September 2004
Approval Date: 13 December 2004
Submission Date: 8 December 2004
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: effective middle schools; essential elements; interviewing process; middle school concept; personal traits; principal as leader; professional development programs; sustaining excellence
Other ID:, etd-12082004-145133
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:09
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:53


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