Wallace: New Effort Reflects Growing Interest in Leadership

October 04, 2010


CommunicationWorks: Kari Hudnell
(202) 955-9450 ext. 318, khudnell@communicationworks.com

The Wallace Foundation: Jessica Schwartz
(212) 251-9711, jschwartz@wallacefoundation.org


Wallace Foundation-commissioned research confirms that school leadership is linked to student achievement

NEW YORK (October 4, 2010) – A newly-formed national initiative to boost principal quality reflects increasing awareness that improving education leadership – an issue that received little attention until recently – is crucial to improving schools, according to Wallace Foundation President M. Christine DeVita.

Wallace, which has supported research and on-the-ground work in education leadership since 2000, has helped to shine what U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has called “a larger and larger spotlight” on the issue, so that today leadership is high on the education reform agenda.

Responding to last week’s announcement of the launch of the Alliance to Reform Education Leadership, an initiative of the George W. Bush Institute, which is affiliated with the planned presidential library of the former president, DeVita said:

“Having spent the last decade investing in strengthening education leadership, we are thrilled at the growing recognition – represented in the new federal priorities, in actions by states, and in the recent Bush Institute announcement – that without effective school leadership, school improvement efforts will not succeed.” 

Wallace is not connected with the new initiative.  

The foundation has invested some $300 million in education leadership efforts over the past 10 years, financing both independent study of leadership issues as well as innovations in 24 states and numerous districts within them. Wallace-commissioned research, embodied in 70-plus published reports, has shown that school leaders with exemplary preparation and professional development have a significant impact on student performance.

Specifically, researchers from the Universities of Toronto and Minnesota have affirmed that there is a strong connection between what school leaders do and student achievement, and have shed new light on what effective leadership involves.

Also with support from The Wallace Foundation, research conducted by the Stanford Educational Leadership Institute and The Finance Project states that principals trained in exemplary programs are more effective in leading school improvement. 


The Wallace Foundation is an independent, national foundation dedicated to supporting and sharing effective ideas and practices that expand learning and enrichment opportunities for all people. The Foundation maintains an online library of lessons about what it has learned, including knowledge from its current efforts aimed at: strengthening educational leadership to improve student achievement; enhancing out-of-school-time learning opportunities; and building appreciation and demand for the arts.