Although school choice programs are expected to alter the traditional roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders involved in the education of children, empirical evidence on differences between principals in schools of choice and traditional schools is scant. Relying primarily on the theoretical frameworks posited by Kerchner and Crow, this study compares self‐reported survey data from principals of magnet schools (i.e. schools of choice) to principals of nonmagnet schools (i.e. traditional neighborhood schools) to ascertain how the principal’s role may differ in choice environments. Despite the predictions of market theorists, collectively, the findings from this study suggest that magnet schools do little, if anything, to alter the role of the principal. Specifically, no significant differences were found in the extent to which the principals of these school types served as entrepreneurial leaders, middle managers, or instructional leaders. Potential explanations for the lack of differences in role are provided.
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