Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education/Leadership in Urban Schools

First Advisor

Martha Montero-Sieburth

Second Advisor

WenFan Yan

Third Advisor

Peter Kiang


This dissertation focuses on the influence of the No Child Left Behind Law (NCLB), one of the most influential educational reform acts in the U.S. and the Massachusetts Education Reform Act (MERA) upon the role of principals in elementary schools throughout Massachusetts. The thesis covered the leadership practices pre- and post- NCLB Federal Law of 2001, the leadership roles of principals, their decision making, and the types of practices they developed as a consequence of NCLB. In addition, principal's backgrounds and cultural influences on their leadership were specifically highlighted in the role of mainstream and non-mainstream principals of ethnic groups including Asian American, African American, Latinos and European whites. How Asian American principals responded and reacted to NCLB was critically analyzed since this was the focus of the dissertation.

Using a quantitative survey sent out to 1,350 principals but with a return of 137 elementary school principals (K-8) in Massachusetts as a sample, and 36 in-depth interviews conducted with equal numbers of principals who were Asian Americans, African Americans, Latinos and European whites in the Boston metropolitan area, and other parts of Massachusetts, the findings indicate that the more assimilated the principals are and in this case, Asian Americans, the more they act and respond like European white principals in their accountability, decision making, and practices. Moreover, acting upon the recommendations made from these findings can serve principals best and provide for future research of within group ethnic and cultural variations on the outcomes of NCLB and its future.