Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ed.D.)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Mary Ellen Freeley

Second Advisor

Rene Parmar

Third Advisor

Stephen Kotok


Since a building principal is the most important employee in a school building with regards to setting educational standards and creating culture, it is important for this leader to consider leadership style and to recognize the importance of teachers’ perceptions on effectiveness. The purpose of this ex post facto study was to explore the relationship between the leadership style of building principals and perceived effectiveness of those leaders. Subtopics of this study considered the relationship that gender, leadership style, and educational level of the school building (elementary vs. secondary) have on perceived effectiveness of leaders. Data were collected via Bass & Avolio’s web-based survey entitled the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) from a sampling of elementary and secondary building principals in Nassau and Suffolk County districts and at least five faculty members from each principal’s school. In total, 38 building principals and 236 teachers participated in the study. Descriptive statistics were compiled on the demographic data obtained, and two-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) tests and an Independent Samples t-test were run using SPSS to understand if there was any significant relationship between gender, type of school and leadership styles or between leadership style, gender, type of school and the perceived effectiveness of the building principal. Further, this study explored if there was a statistically significant difference between the perceptions about leadership style and effectiveness between principal participants and teacher raters. Results of the study revealed non-significant associations for all research questions; however, statistically significant simple main effects found that at the elementary level, female principals were considered significantly more transformational than male principals. Findings also indicated that teachers on both educational levels perceived their male principals to exhibit more laissez-faire leadership behaviors than female principals, and there was a statistically significant difference in effectiveness scores between elementary and secondary school levels for male principals with elementary school teachers rating their male principals as more effective. Through these findings, certain strategies can be ascertained to help current leaders reflect on practice, to better prepare future leaders, and to contribute to the discourse about gender, school type, and leadership in education.