Principals are increasingly held accountable for student achievement outcomes. Existing research has found principal leadership indirectly affects student achievement (Leithwood, Louis, Anderson, & Wahlstrom, 2004). Principals face a problem when they are accountable for achievement outcomes and are dependent upon others and other variables to achieve those outcomes. Consequently, principals will benefit from a richer understanding of how their leadership indirectly affects student achievement. Using the Vanderbilt Assessment of Leadership in Education (VAL-ED) measurement of principal learning-centered leadership (Goldring, Porter, Murphy, Elliot, & Cravens, 2009) and the Omnibus T-Scale measurement of faculty trust in the principal (Hoy & Tschannen-Moran, 2003), researchers sought to better understand the relationship between the perceived learning-centered leadership of principals and faculty trust in those principals. Teachers from 59 schools in a suburban district in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States were surveyed to measure their perception of the learning-centered leadership of their principal and the faculty's trust in their principal. The data from these surveys were analyzed using bivariate and multiple linear regression analyses to determine relationships between these two variables and other significant control variables. Principal learning-centered leadership was significantly and positively related to faculty trust in the principal; principals in this study with higher learning-centered leadership scores had higher faculty trust in principal scores. The R2 was .609, indicating that approximately 60% of the variance in faculty trust in the principal was attributable to the principal's learning-centered leadership, school grade, and principal gender. Additionally, for the principals in this study every unit increase in perceived learning-centered leadership scores resulted in a 1.11 increase in faculty trust in the principal scores. The significance of the relationship was even stronger in schools with a C academic achievement grade. In C graded schools, every unit increase in principal learning-centered leadership scores resulted in a 2.31 increase in faculty trust in the principal scores. Principals with higher levels of learning-centered leadership were rewarded with higher levels of faculty trust. The influence of learning-centered leadership on faculty trust in the principal was even stronger in schools labels lower in academic achievement. Principals seeking to influence the trust their faculty places should engage in those leadership practices associated with learning-centered leadership.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Educational Leadership and Foundations



Date Submitted


Document Type





instructional leadership, learning-centered leadership, trust