Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

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School of Education


Leadership Studies


Catholic Educational Leadership EdD

First Advisor

Patricia Mitchell

Second Advisor

Michael Duffy

Third Advisor

Nicola McClung

Fourth Advisor

James Everitt


Church documents and scholars affirm that traditional pedagogies are ineffective in preparing students for the demands of the 21st century (CCE, 2014, p. 13, Darling-Hammond, 2010; Hartley, 2003; Kampylis, 2010; Skiba, Tan, Sternberg & Grigorenko, 2010). A review of the literature revealed that a gap in research on the Catholic elementary school principal’s understanding of and commitment to creativity exists. Even teachers who value creativity cannot fully support its development in the classroom without proper training. Continuing education coordinated by principals is one of the few opportunities for teachers to identify and confront their creativity misconceptions. The purpose of this study was to identify the beliefs that Catholic elementary school principals hold about creativity, creative students, instructional practices promoting creativity, and the degree of responsibility they feel for supporting their teachers’ creativity training. Understanding the principal perception was selected for this study because their perspectives determine the resources invested in teacher professional development.

The study was a descriptive, mixed-methods, convergent parallel design. The researcher received permission from Dr. Kampylis to utilize and modify the Teachers’ Conception of Creativity questionnaire to focus on principals instead of teachers. Twenty-nine principals participated in this study, representing sixty-two percent of the elementary principals in the diocese. The theoretical framework guiding this research was the Investment Theory of Creativity (Sternberg & Lubart, 1995). This theory supposes that one must choose to be creative by selectively engaging six resources including: (a) intellectual skills, (b) knowledge skills, (c) thinking skills, (d) personality, (e) motivation, and (f) environment (Sternberg, 2006).

Overall findings of this study suggest that principals have a basic understanding of creativity in alignment with research, a willingness to support it, but need additional scaffolds at the diocesan level in order to accomplish this task. Principals acknowledge they feel responsible to support creativity development within their faculty, but do not identify the school environment as the most conducive place for creativity development. Principals need assistance in learning how to articulate and align rigorous curriculum with 21st Century skills including creativity development.