School & District Management Letter to the Editor

We Need a Coordinated Effort to Attract and Support Principals

October 31, 2023 1 min read
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To the Editor:

Vince Bustamante and Tim Cusack make important points about school leadership development in their recent guest post on the Finding Common Ground opinion blog (“The Answer to the Leadership Crisis Is Not a Principal Pipeline, ” Sept. 11, 2023). As they argue, school leaders come into their roles through many avenues and are continually learning on the job. Efforts to recruit and equip school leaders should recognize that the path to school leadership is not linear or one-size-fits-all, nor does it end when a contract is signed.

But what the authors describe as an “alternative philosophy of leadership preparation” misses a key factor that research conducted by the RAND Corp. and also by the Learning Policy Institute has found, which is the importance of taking a comprehensive and aligned approach to leadership development that spans institutions, departments, and even systems. While imperfect, the pipeline metaphor is meant to signal this need for a coordinated effort between a range of stakeholders, including state policy leaders, university programs, school systems, and communities.

The Wallace Foundation is supporting a number of studies that look specifically at pathways and mechanisms for developing and supporting equity-minded leaders who can transform learning for all young people. We look forward to sharing those results once they are available.

Bronwyn Bevan
Vice President, Research
The Wallace Foundation
New York, N.Y.

A version of this article appeared in the November 01, 2023 edition of Education Week as We Need a Coordinated Effort to Attract and Support Principals


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