Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Paula Lester, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Laura Seinfeld, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Rose Borda, Ed.D.


The purpose of this study was to understand the extent to which novice department leaders believe they have been supported in their roles. Previous research has suggested that department leaders have unique needs due to the lack of clarity in their roles and responsibilities. The literature further reflected the inconsistent support provided to novice administrators, and focused primarily on principals. To examine novice department leaders’ perception of informal and formal supports, The Experiences of Novice Department Leaders questionnaire was distributed to K-12 department leaders and building department chairpersons on Long Island (N = 83), with no more than 4 years of leadership experience. Results show that the perceived availability and effectiveness of support is affected by variables such as gender, teaching responsibilities, the number of teachers under one’s supervision, and mentoring, Furthermore, there is a need for greater availability professional development specifically for department leaders, well-designed mentoring programs, and greater role definition for department leaders. The results of this study can be used to inform the efforts of school districts to support novice department leaders, and coursework in leadership preparation programs. Furthermore, the study provides a framework for future research related to the experiences and novice department leaders and the transition of educators into leadership positions.