Publication Date

Spring 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)




Arnold Danzig


administrator stress

Subject Areas

Educational leadership


School and district leaders work in stressful jobs and a better understanding is needed about how these conditions affect their personal and professional lives. This study presents the stories of experienced K–12 public school and district administrators contending with and managing administrative stress and its effects on administrators. Through qualitative inquiry and narrative analysis, the learning that comes from experience is explored as a way of understanding administrative practice. Storied examples of stressful situations range from the most serious and traumatic events a school administrator might face to the daily grind of always being “on.” Powerful themes that emerged from the leadership stories include: (a) part of the job of a school or district administrator is having to deal with the stressful consequences of traumatic events when they occur, (b) experienced leaders contend with stress with the support of trusted colleagues, and (c) experienced leaders have a “go to” process for dealing with difficult or challenging situations or issues. Suggestions for current administrators are presented and include specific recommendations such as Trauma Informed Practice training and individual and group coaching and support.