Vol. 16 No. 17 (2020): An Inquiry into the Influence of Stress on New School Leaders within a Unique Mentorship Experience
This study aimed to identify the sources of stress new school leaders encounter that may influence their mental health. This study used semi-structured focus groupsn to elicit thick, rich descriptions of participants’ experiences. The extensive data sets were collected over two years from 16 focus group interviews conducted during Colorado State University School Leadership Institute retreats. Narrative analysis of participants’ responses provided findings on the stress they experienced, including fear of failure or insecurity, pressure to perform, isolation, work-life balance, time constraints, and compassion fatigue. The participants identified that this unique mentorship opportunity allowed for self-reflection, self-care, and reconnecting with their purpose; furthermore, participants shared that the School Leadership Institute offered support and connectedness in a safe, non-evaluative environment. They shared the importance of strong building-level team support, the cathartic nature of the focus group interviews, and the positive progression from year to year in their roles.