The mentoring and socialization of selected Catholic high school principals

Dominica Mary Rocchio, Fordham University


This study sought to identify the mentoring and socialization experiences of eight Catholic high school principals, and how this preparation for the principalship influenced their leadership as demonstrated in their daily activities. A special focus of the study was the lay principal. For purposes of contrast and comparison, four religious principals were included in the study.^ The following findings surfaced: (a) The mentoring experiences of the study participants were informal and job related occurring within a Catholic school culture indicating that they were not only mentored by individuals (primarily women and men religious who were their former principals), but also by the distinct culture found in Catholic schools. The religious had non-school experiences they identified as helpful preparation for the principalship. (b) Their path to the principalship was situational with five of the eight promoted from within the school. (c) Their leadership behavior was influenced by their schooling and previous work experiences both of which occurred within a Catholic culture. Their previous work experiences provided the settings for them to meet their primary mentors who were instrumental in teaching them skills and leadership perspectives. (d) The leadership perspectives given to them by their mentors were reflected in their behavior (e.g., collaboration, empowerment of others, interest in educational reform, education of women). (e) The spiritual leadership role produced the most contrast between religious and lay principals. Lay principals were less clear about the role, had less formal training in theology, and seemed to equate religious practice with spiritual leadership. (f) The study's participants identified the future role of religious in the mentoring and socialization of principals. That role includes the identification and training of laywomen and men to become principals, and vigilance in assuring that the charisms of religious congregations are shared with each successive generation of students, parents, teachers, and board members.^ The study revealed no difference between the religious and lay principals in their leadership behaviors. The similarities between the two groups were due to similar educational and work experiences. (Abstract shortened by UMI.) ^

Subject Area

Educational administration|Religious education|Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Rocchio, Dominica Mary, "The mentoring and socialization of selected Catholic high school principals" (1993). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9412146.