School Leadership During COVID-19

Implications for School Leadership Preparation Programs


  • Miguel Gonzales University of Nevada Las Vegas
  • Maria Roberts University of Nevada Las Vegas
  • Sylvia Tegano University of Nevada Las Vegas



leadership development, leadership, management crisis, COVID-19


In one university-based school leadership preparation program, aspiring school principals were asked to intern virtually with principals during the COVID-19 school closures. During this internship experience, they interviewed principals about leading during a pandemic and wrote reflective responses explaining what they learned about leading during the pandemic. This case study examines the reflections and lessons learned of leading schools during COVID-19 from 27 aspiring principals in two cohorts of a university-based school leadership preparation program. The researchers employed an abductive qualitative analysis for each aspiring principals' reflection using both deductive and inductive coding methods. Findings revealed fourth themes: (1) the need for structure and organization, (2) attending humanistic needs, (3) struggling to respond to policy changes; and (4) finding meaning and uplifting morale. This study can be used to help inform and guide educational leadership preparation and development programs on how to redirect coursework and field-based experiences to better prepare aspiring school principals to lead during school closures.


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Author Biographies

Miguel Gonzales, University of Nevada Las Vegas

Miguel M. Gonzales is an assistant professor who joined the UNLV faculty in 2017. He earned his Ed.D. in educational leadership in 2016 from the University of Southern California. Miguel is a former traditional and charter school administrator from California. He has, also, completed research in Costa Rica and was a visiting professor at their second-biggest university, Universidad Nacional. In 2018, Miguel was nominated as a Nuestros Maestros from Univision. Miguel's research focuses on school technology leadership, leadership development and innovation in education.

Maria Roberts, University of Nevada Las Vegas

MARIA B. ROBERTS, Ed.D., is an associate professor in the Educational Policy and Leadership Program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Sylvia Tegano, University of Nevada Las Vegas

SYLVIA TEGANO, Ed.D. is a former school principal. She is also an instructor in the Educational Policy and Leadership Program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.  


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