Published Online: November 11, 2015

The Challenges of School Leadership: A Commentary Collection

The job of the school principal is a difficult and demanding one, and the attrition rate bears this out: According to a 2014 study from the School Leaders Network, 25 percent of principals leave their schools each year, and 50 percent of new principals quit during their third year.

Against this backdrop, Education Week Commentary editors invited school leaders from across the country to write about their biggest professional challenges and how they manage them. The package also includes audio slideshows, in which each of the four principals discusses what he or she would most like policymakers to know about the job.

How Do We Keep Good Principals?

Two former school leaders and current faculty members of the Harvard Graduate School of Education offer their views on school leadership:

Deborah Jewell-Sherman considers No Child Left Behind's impact on school leadership. Read Story

Mary Grassa O’Neill shares recommendations for combating principal churn. Read Story

I Must Be Everywhere at Once

Read Story Principal Tim Lauer shares how he uses technology to balance extended classroom visits with his other leadership responsibilities.

I Put Our Mission Front and Center

Read Story A rash of student transfers was a wake-up call for Principal Rodney Fisher to prioritize his school’s mission, he writes.

I Prioritize Community-Building

Read StoryLeading a parochial school demands an engaged focus on students’ sense of community and character, says Habeeb Quadri.

I Control What I Can

Read Story Amidst a web of challenges, principals can still manage to control the “weather” inside their schools, writes Tamara McWilliams.

This special section is supported by a grant from The Wallace Foundation. Education Week retained sole editorial control over the content of this package; the opinions expressed are the authors' own, however.

Illustration by Steve Braden for Education Week.

Vol. 35, Issue 12