Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ed.D.)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Mary Ellen Freeley

Second Advisor

Stephen Kotok

Third Advisor

Randall F Clemens


Leading a school is a demanding job. Over 20% of school principals in the United States leave their position annually, especially in disadvantaged areas where consistent leadership is most needed (Battle, 2010; Snyder, de Brey, & Dillow, 2016). The myriad of responsibilities and external forces imposed on school principals oftentimes lead to career burnout, which adversely impacts the staff, students, and communities they serve. Dweck (2006) states that individuals who hold a growth mindset regarding their skills and intelligences view challenges, such as ones that may lead to career burnout, as opportunities for growth and development. However, research examining the relationship between career burnout and mindset levels of school principals is limited.

The present study examined current literature on the causes, symptoms, and prevention methods relevant to career burnout of school principals, as well as the history, benefits, and barriers of possessing a growth mindset. Additionally, quantitative methods were used to explore the relationship between mindset and burnout using Pearson’s Correlation, t-tests, ANOVA and a hierarchal regression. Survey data from 170 New York State principals was collected using a demographic questionnaire, the Maslach Burnout Inventory – Educators Survey (MBI-ES) (Maslach, Jackson, & Schwab, 1986), and the Dweck Mindset Instrument (DMI) (Dweck, 2006).

Findings show that New York State principals consistently reported high levels of growth mindset and low levels of career burnout. An analysis of the data found no statistically significant relationship between burnout and mindset for New York State principals, nor was mindset predictive of burnout when controlling for demographic and background characteristics. However, the difference in burnout levels based on school location was statistically significant, with upstate principals reporting more burnout than principals from Long Island, New York. Readers should interpret this analysis with caution since participants were a homogeneous group.

This exploratory study lays the foundation for future research on the relationships between the mindset, demographic, and background variables of New York State principals and their self-reported levels of career burnout.