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Perspectives of school leaders on the administrative internship

Rebecca A. Thessin (The Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, Maryland, USA)
Jennifer Clayton (Educational Leadership, The George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA)

Journal of Educational Administration

ISSN: 0957-8234

Article publication date: 23 September 2013




The purpose of this study was to identify how current K-12 district and school leaders who are alumni of an educational administration program describe how they acquired the essential skills and experiences needed to be effective in the leadership positions.


For this qualitative study, the authors interviewed program alumni of one university leadership preparation program regarding the experiences and training they identified as having prepared them with the necessary skills, knowledge, and attitudes to be successful in their positions, as well as which components of their administrative internship experiences, if any, they identified as having most prepared them for their positions.


School and district administrators indicated they acquired the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to become successful leaders through specific preparation experiences and opportunities. Key experiences cited by alumni included gaining some leadership responsibilities while they were teachers and further opportunities to lead in the administrative internship; engaging in practical, hands-on assignments in their graduate degree program courses; learning from other administrators with unique areas of work responsibilities, as well as from other schools and districts; and receiving guidance from a dedicated mentor.


The findings from this study contribute to research in the area of administrator preparation by guiding preparation programs in prioritizing the types of training and practicum experiences that aspiring K-12 educational leaders receive as a component of their preparation programs.



A. Thessin, R. and Clayton, J. (2013), "Perspectives of school leaders on the administrative internship", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 51 No. 6, pp. 790-811.



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