Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy ETDs

Publication Date



This study dealt with the upward movement of aspirants from the role of teacher to the role of principal. The Hall's movement was viewed from the context of Van Gennep's "rites of passage" and sponsorship. Van Gennep conceptualized the movement from one role to another in three stages. These stages are: (1) separation, (2) transition, and (3) incorpora­tion. Sponsorship is a mechanism for organizational control and serves as a mechanism to facilitate or hinder movement within the organization.

The findings of the study suggest that sponsors with­in the school system resemble the elders of the tribe. By right of their experience and knowledge of the rites of the tribe, these elders assume the responsibility of teaching the young. These elders control the acts or rituals which must be performed if movement from one role to another is to be accomplished. The elders are the ones who decide when the young members are ready to move from one role to another.

Control of the organization is maintained by a relatively small number of established members who make up the informal organization. These members constitute Hall's inner fraternity. They occupy prominent positions within the organization and through their assumed right to sponsor control recruitment and selection of principals. The recruit­ment and selection of the principals helps to maintain the power of the inner fraternity and the control over the organization.

Using a dichotomy suggested by Turner, two groups of aspirants were established. The groups were: (1) the contest group in which elite status (principalship) was the prize in an open contest and was taken by the aspirants own effort; and (2) the sponsored group who were chosen by the established elite or their agents and given the principalship on the basis of supposed merit.

A third group, the political appointee, was found to exist. The political appointee was feared by the inner fraternity because he had bypassed the rites of passage established by the inner fraternity and had caused a temporary loss of organizational control.

Document Type




Degree Name

Educational Leadership

Level of Degree


Department Name

Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy

First Committee Member (Chair)

Martin Burlingame

Second Committee Member

Ronald Eugene Blood

Third Committee Member

James Allen Hale