A Beginning Rural Principal's Toolkit

A Guide for Success

  • Brian Ashton Brigham Young University, Idaho
  • Heather E. Duncan University of Wyoming


The purpose of this article is to explore both the challenges and skills needed to effectively assume a leadership position and thus to create an entry plan or ‘toolkit’ for a new rural school leader. The entry plan acts as a guide beginning principals may use to navigate the unavoidable confusion that comes with leadership. It also assists aspiring new leaders to think through, and vicariously experience, the challenges they may face in a leadership role. If focuses on three specific areas most relevant to rural principals: Dealing with professional isolation and loneliness, getting to know and thriving in a rural community, and basic management skills for the lone administrator. It provides a series of tools that beginning principals may find useful as they embark on a leadership journey in a rural setting and also identifies the specific skills various stakeholder groups perceive as most important for rural school leaders.  


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Author Biographies

Brian Ashton, Brigham Young University, Idaho
Brian Ashton is the Director of Badger Creek Outdoor Learning Center, BYU, Idaho. He is also a doctoral student in educational leadership at the University of Wyoming.
Heather E. Duncan, University of Wyoming
Heather E. Duncan is an associate professor in educational leadership at the University of Wyoming.  
How to Cite
Ashton, B., & Duncan, H. E. (2013). A Beginning Rural Principal’s Toolkit. The Rural Educator, 34(1). https://doi.org/10.35608/ruraled.v34i1.405
Research Articles