Evaluating School Principals: From the Maryland Statehouse to the Schoolhouse


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Principal evaluation holds great promise for improving principals’ practice, building their capacity, holding them accountable for student progress and ensuring that they have an overall positive impact on students, teachers and schools. Given the nexus between effective school leadership and student achievement, evaluating and supporting school principals is increasingly recognized as a key strategy for improving schools, increasing student achievement and narrowing persistent achievement gaps.

This webinar takes an in-depth look at how a state and large urban district are working together to evaluate and support principals, with particular attention to supporting principals as evaluators of teachers. In 2010, Maryland passed H.B. 1263 to require the State Board of Education to establish general standards for teacher and principal performance evaluations. Each local school board must, in turn, establish performance evaluation criteria with teachers and principals that are mutually agreed upon by the local board and the exclusive employee representative. The law requires specific evaluation criteria, including data on student growth as a “significant” component of the evaluation and as one of multiple measures. The law also requires the State Board of Education to establish a program to support locally negotiated incentives for highly effective classroom teachers and principals to work in high-needs public schools.To help guide the design and refinement of pilots and resolve outstanding issues, the Maryland Educator Effectiveness Council was created through an executive order in 2010 and extended through December 2013.

Prince George’s County School District (PGC) near Washington, DC, was one of seven districts piloting the state’s new evaluation model and their evaluation of school principals extends to assistant principals and central office staff. PGC is one of six urban districts participating in The Wallace Foundation’s principal pipeline initiative, which in part is looking at how effective principal evaluations connect to ongoing support (i.e., mentoring and professional development).

Learn from multiple perspectives about the importance and mechanics of well-designed principal performance evaluations and how Maryland’s principal evaluations are evolving to assess the new and rapidly changing expectations of today’s school leaders.


  • Sara Shelton, program principal, NCSL


  • Joseph Murphy, professor of education, Vanderbilt Peabody College, Tennessee
  • David A. Volrath, teacher and principal evaluation, Planning and Development Officer, Maryland State Department of Education
  • Douglas Anthony, director, Office of Human Capital Management, Prince George’s County Schools, Maryland

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