The following, written in 2011, describes a concluded Wallace program.
Past Investment: 2001-2007
States are central players in setting policies and creating conditions necessary for successful leadership, and for preparing future leaders to perform effectively in schools and districts. Yet, when The Wallace Foundation became involved in education leadership, very few states had a comprehensive plan for improving district and school leadership. Sometimes, state policies actually limited those efforts.
In 2001, Wallace announced a three-year, $8.9 million grant to launch the State Action for Education Leadership Project (SAELP), a national consortium led by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and including the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Association of State Boards of Education and the Education Commission of the States. Working directly with 15 selected states, SAELP led a national effort that sought to ensure that laws and policies in all 50 states strengthened the capacity of superintendents and principals to improve student learning. The SAELP states were Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.
In April 2004, the foundation announced one-year grants totaling $3.6 million to the 15 states to participate in the second phase of the state-based project. The states were eligible to renew their grants for up to two additional years for another $16 million based on results.
The 15 SAELP states were tasked with establishing new requirements for the preparation and licensure of school leaders; providing incentives for recruitment and fellowships; and promoting creative, effective working dynamics between local leaders and governing boards. These states concentrated on six key areas of activity and knowledge building:
Assuring that states gave high priority to support leadership;
Developing state strategies to increase and diversify the pool of candidates for school and district leadership;
Modifying state policies to improve pre-service and professional development programs;
Using state policies to promote better licensing and certification processes for leaders and improving the accreditation process for higher education-based leadership training programs;
Designing and implementing strategies to improve contracting and bargaining practices, salary and compensation programs, performance review processes, and incentive programs for strong leaders; and
Devising state policies and practices to improve the political and governance settings that affect the climate for education leaders.
Ten states passed legislation or regulations related to changes in certification/licensure requirements.
Massachusetts created a new program allowing the Springfield school district to certify its own principals.
New Jersey adopted new governance structures and roles that afforded superintendents and principals the ability to make more personnel decisions.
Indiana and Oregon began recruitment campaigns focused on placing minority educators into leadership positions.
Missouri introduced and passed three bills aimed at modifying administrator certification rules, fostering administrative mentoring and improving administrative effectiveness.
The Vermont House of Representatives introduced a proposal to clarify roles of school boards and administrators and to establish a school leadership academy.
Georgia launched a Leadership Institute for School Improvement.
Iowa presented a report on SAELP and education leadership to the state’s board of education to make leadership a top policy priority in 2003.
Delaware developed and implemented education leadership standards.
Virginia's State Board approved a regulation allowing for non-traditional superintendents.
Indiana, Kentucky and Virginia created study commissions on leadership through their state legislatures.
Illinois enacted a new law to require continuing professional development for administrators.