Research Spotlight: Linda Searby

Linda SearbyQ & A with Linda Searby, Clinical Associate Professor in the School of Human Development and Organizational Studies in Education

What basic questions does your research seek to answer?

I have two different lines of research. One is on the mentoring mindset of the protégé in a mentoring relationship.  In earlier research with new principals and their mentors, I answered the question, “What constitutes a mentoring mindset of a protégé who is poised to gain the most benefit from a mentoring relationship?” My other line of research is on the assistant principalship.  I am seeking to answer the questions, “What are the experiences of assistant principals as instructional leaders and how have they been prepared for this role?”

What makes your work interesting?

What makes my mindset research interesting is that it has applicability in virtually all fields where mentoring is occurring.  When I present on this topic at mentoring conferences, where there are individuals from many professions and fields, I find that the research resonates with them.  So my research has application beyond the field of educational leadership, which is very gratifying.

The assistant principal research is interesting because this is a highly under-researched area.  Assistant principals are often forgotten, yet they are second in line in the leadership continuum in schools, and are increasingly being asked to be instructional leaders, not merely managers of books, busses, and buildings.  They need to have their voices heard.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently translating the mentoring mindset research into a self-assessment for mentees to reflect on their own mentoring mindset and readiness for mentoring. For the assistant principal research, I am preparing to replicate a large statewide study which I previously conducted with assistant principals in Alabama and will build upon this study to survey assistant principals in Florida.