UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

The development of school principalship in Vancouver, 1886-1928 Chiang, Po-Yu Emmy


The traditional role of the school principal as head teacher, school secretary, janitor and nurse became transformed during the last century in the United States, as growth of the size of city schools required principals to provide supervisory and instructional leadership. By the turn of the century, principals of large urban centres were granted much administrative control over their schools and were relieved of teaching, clerical, janitorial and medical duties so that they could devote their time to inspect classes and manage their staff. As this was the state of the profession in the United States, the purpose of this thesis is to investigate whether or not the same kind of change occurred in Canadian schools, and whether this American trend had any impact on the pace or pattern of change for Canadian school principals. Early school principalship in Vancouver, as it developed from 1886 to 1928, is selected as a case for inquiry. The study profiles the personal and professional background of Vancouver's first principals and describes the nature of their work during this time period. As the various available sources, such as the annual provincial superintendent's reports and school board meeting minutes show, while the profession did undergo similar type of reform, as principals evolved from head teachers to supervisors and managers, the process was hampered by local elements and concerns, as well as decisions made by city and provincial authorities. One can conclude from these findings that, for one Canadian city at least, new models and ideas in school administration from the United States were not quickly or easily transferred and adopted. For Vancouver, the decision to redefine the role of school principals happened only when local needs justified such a move.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.