• Anar Mukhtarova Turar Ryskulov Kazakh Economic University


The importance of the school leadership has increased significantly in the last decades. Leadership, especially effectiveness of the principal may play a key role in the success and sustainability of a school. The aim of this study was to identify the first year principalship challenges in the comprehensive schools of Kazakhstan. The small-scale study conducted in 2011 utilized a blend of qualitative and quantitative methodology approach with mixed-method techniques: the questionnaire and the semi-structured interview. The total number of the participants was 49 (43 questionnaire respondents and 6 interviewees); representatives of rural, suburban and urban schools. While some key findings of the study replicated previous research results, some other findings were indicated as unique to the Kazakhstani context. Specifically, the need for prior and after appointment trainings, especially in budget and finance areas, allocation of teaching hours among the staff and changing parental attitude towards the schooling were the most challenging issues of the principals in their first year of headship. The perceived gap between the government’s desires to integrate into the global educational arena and the schooling status quo demands rethinking and reviewing the current school leadership development. Although the findings are based on a limited sample, there is persuasive evidence for the necessity of a new systematic and strategic approach to the school leaders’ preparation and training which will take into account values of the post-soviet Kazakhstan people and needs of a modernized world.


Bush, T. (2009). Leadership development and school improvement: contemporary issues in leadership development. Educational Review, 61 (4), 375-389. doi: 10.1080/00131910903403956

Cowie, M. & Crawford, M. (2008). Being a new principal in Scotland. Journal of Educational Administration, 46 (6), 676-689. doi: 10.1108/09578230810908271

Crow, G. (2006). Complexity and the beginning principal in the United States: perspectives on socialization. Journal of Educational Administration, 44 (4), 310-325. doi: 10.1108/09578230610674930

Daresh, J. C. & Playko, M. A. (1994). Aspiring and practising principals’ perceptions of criticals kills for beginning leaders. Journal of Educational Administration, 32 (3), 35-45. doi: 10.1108/09578239410063102

Day, C., Sammons, P., Leithwood, K., Hopkins, D., Gu, Q., Brown, E. & Ahtaridou, E. (2011). Successful school leadership. Maidenhead, England: Open University Press.

Duke, D. (1987). School Leadership and Instructional Improvement. New York, NY: Random House.

Greenfield, W. D. (1985). The moral socialisation of school administrations: Informal role learning outcomes. Education Administration Quarterly, 21 (4), 99-119. doi: 10.1177/0013161X85021004007

Hobson, A., Brown, E., Ashby, P., Keys, W., Sharp, C. & Benefield, P. (2003). Issues of Early Headship – Problems and Support Strategies. Retrieved July 27, 2011, from National College of School Leadership, Nottingham Web site: www.ncls.org.uk

Ismailova, D. M. (2011). Menja naznaczili rukovoditelem [I was appointed as a leader]. Spravocznik rukovoditeljaobrazovateljnovo uczrezhdjenija [Handbook of an educational institution’s leader], 6 (54), 77-82.

Nelson, S., Colina, M. G. & Boone, M. D. (2008). Lifeworld or systemsworld: what guides novice principals? Journal of Educational Administration, 46 (6), 690-701.doi: 10.1108/09578230810908280

Parkay, F. & Hall, G. (Eds.) (1992). Becoming a Principal. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Punch, K. F. (2009). Introduction to Research Methods in Education. London, England: Sage Publications. Retrieved June 30, 2011, from http://www.sagepub.com/upm-data/31987_Punch_Final_Proof.pdf/

Quong, T. (2006). Asking the hard questions: being a beginning principal in Australia. Journal of Educational Administration ,44 (4), 376-388. doi: 10.1108/09578230610676622

Sackney, L. & Walker, K. (2006). Canadian perspectives on beginning principals: their role in building capacity for learning communities. Journal of Educational Administration, 44 (4), 341-358. doi: 10.1108/09578230610676578

Sherman, A. (2008). Using case studies to visualize success with first year principals. Journal of Educational Administration, 46 (6), 752-761. doi: 10.1108/09578230810908334

Slater, C. L., Garcia, J. M. & Gorosave, G. L. (2008). Challenges of a successful first-year principal in Mexico. Journal of Educational Administration, 46 (6), 702-714. doi: 10.1108/09578230810908299

The Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan (2010). Plan meroprijatij na 2011-2015 gody po realizacii Gosudarstvennoj programmy razvitija obrazovanija Respubliki Kazachstan na 2011-2015 gody I etap [The state programme on educational development for the years 2011-2020 in the Republic of Kazakhstan]. Retrieved April 19, 2013, from www.edu.gov.kz/fileadmin/user_upload/npa/gosprogramma/GPRO_Plan_rus_itog.doc

Walker, A. & Qian, H. (2006). Beginning principals: balancing at the top of the greasy pole. Journal of Educational Administration, 44 (4), 297-309. doi: 10.1108/09578230610674921

Weindling, D. (1999). Stages of Headship. In Bush, T., Bell, L., Bolam, R., Glatter, R. & Ribbins, P. (Eds.). Education Management Redefining Theory, Policy and Practice. (p. 90-101). London: Paul Chapman Publishing.

Weindling, D. (2000). Stages of Headship: A Longitudinal Study of the Principalship. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association New Orleans, LA, April 24-28, 2000. EDRS 451591.