Training principals who can lead

For decades, I’ve heard about the most critical shortage in education:  Principals who can lead, not just administer, and create the conditions that enable teachers to teach effectively.  The Wallace Foundation is helping six urban school districts hire, train and support effective principals for high-need schools.

In Gwinnett County, Georgia’s largest district, aspiring principals get a year of “residency” training before taking over a school.  

Aspiring principals in the district spend 90 days training under successful school leaders, helping lead teacher meetings, working on projects to improve instruction and meeting frequently with mentors. They attend workshops and seminars, often with district Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks, to learn leadership strategies, budgeting and other skills.

 . . . In New York City, research showed that graduates of their leadership academy went into the lowest-performing schools and within three years were outperforming similar schools in English language arts and mathematics.

The $75 million grant will include funds to research whether specially trained principals improve student achievement.

Training principals is cost effective, researchers say.

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  1. We need to train principals to step aside.

    Their “leadership” is usually interference. Their “management” is often increasing the number of rules.

    When principals are evaluated, they say, “I made the teachers do this and I made them do that.”

    Instead, the principals should be supported who can say, “I let the teachers do this and I let them do that.”

    Teachers need to be empowered, not harassed.

    Principals lead best when they mandate the least.

  2. Oh, go take a cold shower, Robert.

    If teaching skill’s unmeasured and unrewarded why should principaling skills be treated any differently? The problem’s systemic and until the system problems are neutralized, by changing the system, improvement’s impossible.