Date of Award

Fall 12-14-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Audrey Rabas, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Brian Creasman, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Nessa Sassar, Ed.D.


Principals and their teachers experience stress levels to such a degree that student achievement can be negatively impacted. The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological qualitative study was threefold: to explore and better understand principals’ first-hand and lived experiences of on-the-job stress and their practices of self-care to negate that stress, understand if principals find it important to model the practice of self-care to their teachers to reduce stress levels, and understand principals’ awareness of their emotional intelligence and how they use that to support not only themselves but their staff. Three research questions were developed, and semistructured interviews were conducted with 14 California principals. Triangulation of data was met with the semistructured interviews, an online survey, and observational field notes. Through data analysis, 10 themes emerged that help to answer the research questions. This study shows that principals experience high levels of stress, and while they try to self-care and reduce consequences, they are not always successful. Teachers also experience high levels of stress, and principals are very aware of this but do not always have the time, resources, or knowledge to support modeling of self-care. Emotional intelligence skills are used by principals but not with complete self-awareness that this is what they are doing. This study revealed data that can provide a better understanding of principal and teacher stress and the implications on any given school campus.

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