Sep 02

Attracting and Retaining Talented Leaders

In her monthly “Message From the Executive Director” in the September NASSP NewsLeader, NASSP Director Joann Bartoletti identifies some points related to principalship time frame and leadership success.  Listed below are some of the significant issues in the piece, but you really need to get your copy from the pile on your office desk and read the entire commentary.

  • School improvement tends to increase the longer principals remain in their school.  Of course, there are some exceptions to this observation as you may well know in your own school division, but generally, this holds true.  This observation should not come as a surprise as the more time one places into developing a positive school climate, the better are the chances for the school to flourish academically, increase student attendance and engender community support. Parents and students appreciate your efforts if remain in place through thick and thin.  Just remember that in dealing with federal, state and local policies, school life as a leader is not always a bed of roses.
  • The other portion of this principal time commitment/arrangement is that the ideal, i.e. lengthy building tenure for administrators, is not always the norm. In a 2012 study at the University of Texas-Austin, the percentage of principals remaining in their buildings dropped to 80% after the first year , by year 3, only 27% of high school principals and 31% of middle school principals remained. The significant downside was the lack of consistent leadership for long term projects/programs put in place by the original principals.

In Joann’s article, she notes that considering the stress and realities of building administration, the role of the principal needs reimagining. To that end, in 2012, NAESP and NASSP collaborated to determine how a principal’s leadership contributes to school success.  as a result, the following domains of leadership were recommended for building principals:

1. Professional growth and responsibility

2. Student growth and achievement

3. School planning and progress

4. School culture

5. Professional qualities and instructional leadership

6. Stakeholder support and engagement

Consider these domains and share them with other principals in your division and determine if putting forth the effort for these affect the time frame for leaders in your school and others.