Principal Concerns: Leadership Data and Strategies for States

The Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) just published a short yet important paper on how states can improve the talent among their ranks of principals. The paper focuses primarily on how states can strategically and thoughtfully engineer a pipeline of talented principals. According to the authors, states can activate three levers to build this pipeline: (1) collect administrative staff data to project the need for principals—and, geographically, where the need will be; (2) join principal preparation programs to their graduates’ results, in order identify the most effective prep programs; and (3) connect school building performance results to principals and encourage districts to reward effective principals and help struggling ones.

The 21st century principalship will be a leadership position that requires a host of skills. Principals will have to manage people, whether parents, teachers, or kids. They’ll have to manage processes, which will range from teacher evaluations to budgeting. They’ll have to understand data, including value-added growth models, which are based on complex statistical models. And they’ll have to do all this within the context of being educational experts and instructional leaders. They also have to help motivate their staffs and their students. It won’t be an easy job—though, it probably never has been—and as CRPE concludes, it’ll take strategic thinking about which levers states should activate to build a pipeline of principals, who are just the right people, who can do the right work, in the right places.

Christine Campbell and Betheny Gross
Principal Concerns: Leadership Data and Strategies for States
Seattle: Center for Reinventing Public Education
September 2012

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