With so much attention focused on teachers (from hiring to evaluation to pay to firing), not enough has been paid to public education’s other vital human resource: school principals. And that’s a problem. “Unfortunately, when it comes to cultivating school leaders, current state-level practices are, at best, haphazard,” write authors Christine Campbell and Betheny Gross in this Center for Reinventing Public Education brief. Their recommendations are sound and straightforward: States should track the right data (anticipate when principals will retire, which ones need more support, and which training programs produce the best results) and strategically fill the leader pipeline (giving the right work to the right people in the right schools). Putting flesh on those policy bones, the brief provides specific examples of where individual states should target efforts. Iowa, for example, should employ principal-recruitment strategies because of the number of leaders nearing retirement age, while Indiana—with a younger principal population—should emphasize professional development. Getting teacher policy right is key. But so is principal policy. This brief offers a smart way forward.

SOURCE: Christine Campbell and Betheny Gross, Principal Concerns: Leadership Data and Strategies for States (Seattle, Washington: Center on Reinventing Public Education, September 2012).

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