Mandates of federal education laws dictate most aspects of public school life for principals as well as teachers. These mandates are the criteria for schools to receive federal funds. This article provides insight into the leadership styles of principals serving a rural county in Tennessee. The study identified leadership traits and/or behaviors demonstrating the principal’s preferred leadership style and then identified changes directly attributed to the mandates of NCLB. The study showed that not only were changes invoked, but the resulting leadership styles seem to define a new leadership definition for the 21st century principal.

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