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Novice Assistant Principals’ Perceptions of Professional Learning Experiences Open Access

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Assistant Principals (APs) are valuable members of most public school systems. Although there is a wealth of research on the benefits of school leadership, research on APs is underdeveloped. The role of AP is ambiguously and inconsistently defined across school sites. Opportunities for professional learning, in its many forms including coaching and mentoring, is inconsistent for APs, as most schools and districts focus on teacher professional development. Thus, APs may be trained and licensed, yet few are prepared to assume the myriad tasks required of a school leader.This qualitative study examined the professional learning support of novice first- year K-12 public school APs in two large urban districts located in the southeastern United States. The study made sense of APs’ experiences while participating in professional learning, with a focus on how leadership skills develop. In-depth, semi structured interviews about professional development experiences were conducted with first-year novice APs. Through a constructionist epistemological lens and the dual theoretical framework of career construction theory and transformative learning theory, data analysis sought to present how APs attribute meaning to professional growth as development of leadership skills.Keywords: professional learning, professional development, assistant principals, novice school leaders

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