Building a School Principal Pipeline: Lessons from the Field


Legislative Seminar

In August 2013, NCSL, with generous support from The Wallace Foundation, convened 24 legislators and legislative staff from 16 states to meet with researchers, practitioners and experts in the field to learn about the state legislative role in building a school principal pipeline. The half-day seminar was grounded in research, highlighted state policy levers and featured lessons from high performing school districts. This policy brief is a summary of that seminar and is meant to inform state policymakers as they take on this challenging work.

State Policy Approaches

  • Principal Standards
  • Preparation Program Design and Approval
  • Licensure
  • Professional Development
  • Evaluation and Ongoing Support

District-Driven Reform

School districts also play an important role in building a pipeline of effective principals. They greatly influence how principals are trained, hired, mentored, developed and evaluated on the job. A growing number of large districts are focusing their efforts on building a large corps of well-qualified candidates for the principalship and supporting principals once they are on the job.

The Wallace Foundation Princpal Pipeline Initiative

Wallace has launched and financed a six-year, $75 million initiative to establish strong principal “pipelines”— local systems ensuring that a large corps of school leaders is properly trained, hired, evaluated and supported on the job. The six grantees include Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C.; Denver, Colo.; Gwinnett County, Ga.; Hillsborough County, Fla.; Prince Georges County, Md.; and New York City. The districts will also participate in a major Wallace-funded independent evaluation to see whether pipelines make a difference in student achievement and offer lessons learned to the field.

Additional Resources