What steps must school districts take to create a pipeline of high-quality principals? This feature article describes the efforts of districts that are part of a six-year, Wallace-funded initiative to further develop their principal pipelines. Districts pursued four key strategies: setting standards for school leaders, training future principals rigorously, hiring selectively and offering strong on-the-job support for novices. Leaders from six school districts—Denver; Prince George's County, Md.; Gwinnet County, Ga.; Hillsborough Co., Fla.; Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C.; and New York City—share their strategies for selecting and developing school leaders and discuss candidly what's working and what's not.

The article appeared in the February 2012 issue of JSD, the journal of Learning Forward, an association for those who work in professional development in education.

 Points of Interest

  • Standards for principals should require that they share leadership with staff members in meaningful ways, as opposed to, "You're in charge of the supply closet."
    #Principals should share leadership with staff in meaningful ways, not "You're in charge of the supply closet."
  • Evaluation for principals isn't an end it itself. Done right, it provides information about what professional growth is needed, such as in leading instruction, sharing leadership with others or analyzing student data to plan school improvements.
    A #principal's evaluation isn't an end in itself; it should show what professional growth is needed to excel.
  • Training for principal mentors in the art of listening and questioning is crucial, in part so that mentors can avoid the common pitfall of being buddies to their protégées rather than coaches.
    Training #principal mentors in the art of listening/questioning is crucial if they are to become effective coaches.