School Leadership Working Group

Extraordinary principals are instrumental for teacher development and retention.  For example, the top three factors local teachers sited as making them more likely to stay at their current school were all things directly in the purview of principals: improved school culture, more supports for behavioral challenges, and appreciation from school leadership. However, many challenges exist in the current Dallas-Fort Worth principal pipeline.

Key Objective

The School Leadership Working Group brings together local school districts that want to work alongside one another to improve their principal talent management systems - in other words, their systems for attracting, preparing, developing, and retaining high-impact principals.  Participating districts are starting with defining a vision of extraordinary leadership for their district and applying it across all school leadership roles and processes.  

The Challenge

Principals directly impact teacher development and retention. For example, the top three factors local teachers sited as making them more likely to stay at their current school were all things directly in the purview of principals: improved school culture, more supports for behavioral challenges, and appreciation from school leadership.

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In a survey of over 1,000 Dallas-Fort Worth principals, assistant principals, and instructional leaders, fewer than half of respondents believed that the most talented people in their district become leaders.

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Dallas-Fort Worth principal turnover exceeds the state average, and our lowest income schools are the hardest hit. Between 2011 and 2017, schools with 80 to 100% economically disadvantaged students experienced an average annual principal turnover rate of 23%, compared to 15% annual turnover among schools with 0 to 20% economically disadvantaged students.

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At the foundation of successful school leadership pipelines is a unanimously clear understanding of what makes an extraordinary leader within a district. But in a recent Dallas-Fort Worth school leadership survey, fewer than 50% of respondents felt that their district had a clear vision for what makes an extraordinary leader.

Current Focus

At the foundation of effective systems for attracting, preparing, developing, and retaining principals is a clear, compelling, and fully integrated definition of what extraordinary school leadership entails.  The School Leadership Working Group kicks off with participating districts examining best practices and examples from around the country for defining high-impact school leadership. Then, each district will engage its key stakeholders - like teachers and existing principals - in a process to help define extraordinary school leadership for that district.  In addition, each district will identify opportunities to strengthen key elements of its principal talent management system through better alignment with the district's vision for extraordinary leadership.

Initiative Leader: Elizabeth Dodson

Director, Best in Class

Please contact Elizabeth to learn more: Elizabeth.Dodson@commitpartnership.org

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