School Superintendents Share Innovative Efforts to Build Strong Principal Pipelines

July 09, 2015




The Wallace Foundation
Jessica Schwartz

Short New Videos Featuring School Superintendents Share Innovative Efforts to Build Strong Principal Pipelines 

In One Short Video, Superintendents Offer Advice to Other Districts About How to Start Building Their Own Pipelines

NEW YORK CITY (July 9, 2015) - The Wallace Foundation is releasing seven short videos featuring six school district superintendents talking about key innovations to emerge from a major national initiative to develop larger numbers of highly effective principals - and one video that offers advice to other superintendents who might want to build their own strong principal pipelines. 

The two-minute videos of each superintendent highlight new practices to develop leaders and manage career paths more intentionally, including crafting clear standards for principals, developing strong partnerships with local university preparation programs, grooming assistant principals, revamping hiring processes and stepping up support for new principals.

These are among the innovations that were outlined in an independent report called Building a Stronger Principalship: Districts Taking Charge of the Principal Pipeline, which was released in January and is the third in a six-part series in a multi-year evaluation of The Wallace Foundation's $75-million Principal Pipeline Initiative. Policy Studies Associates and the RAND Corporation are conducting the evaluation.

In one six-minute video, the superintendents offered advice to other districts who are just embarking on building a principal pipeline. One bit of advice: Be patient. "It's not a one-year effort. It's not a two-year effort. This is a 10, 12, 15-year effort to take someone from where they wish to be a school leader to where they truly are a very effective leader of an organization as large and complex, as challenging, as rewarding as a school," said Tom Boasberg, superintendent of Denver Public Schools.

Besides Boasberg, the other superintendents are Ann Clark of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Alvin Wilbanks of Gwinnett County (Ga.) Public Schools, Carmen Fariña of New York City Schools, Jeff Eakins of Hillsborough County (Fla.) Public Schools; and Kevin Maxwell of Prince George's County (Md.) Public Schools.

The report by Policy Studies Associates principal Brenda Turnbull details how the six districts are strengthening the ability of novice principals to lead instructional improvement in their schools, while also building pools of strong candidates for open principal positions. When the initiative started in 2011, the districts knew they needed to replace about 15 percent of their principals every year, but they felt their benches were not deep. They wanted to solve the problems of too few qualified applicants and struggling novice principals. 

The interviews were captured on video at a recent Wallace convening of the districts participating in the pipeline initiative.

To watch the new videos, click here.

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The Wallace Foundation is an independent, national foundation dedicated to improving the lives of disadvantaged children in American cities by providing more opportunities to learn, both in and out of school. The Foundation maintains an online library of lessons at about what it has learned, including knowledge from its current efforts aimed at improving: the quality of the principals who lead our schools; efforts to expand the effective use of additional learning time during the summer and the regular school day or year; and the access to and equitable distribution of quality arts learning and after-school programs.