Hot Topics | School Leaders


Welcome to the hot topics page on school leadership. This page will be updated regularly with links to outside news stories, reports, opinion pieces and other material dealing with school leadership. Staying current is a must in the field of education policy. 

School Leadership in the News

Recent Research in School Leadership

  • How can school districts build a pipeline of effective school principals? This Wallace Perspective sheds some light.
  • This policy brief by Education Policy Center at AIR, Principal Professional Development: New Opportunities for a Renewed State Focus, explores options for states to revisit and refocus principal professional development. The brief offers an easy to digest overview of current school leadership research and highlights helpful state policy examples. 
  • This RAND report describes major ESSA funding programs that can be used to pay for school leadership improvement efforts, the law’s categories of acceptable evidence and where and how they come into play, and activities supported by research in the top three evidence categories. School Leadership Interventions Under the Every Student Succeeds Act
  • A recently released New Leaders research report studied what distinguished school leadership at schools making progress in helping students meet college- & career-ready standards. It includes the report, 6 case studies of CCR-aligned leadership practices, an appendix of useful resources, and a state policy brief looking at implications of the report for state principal standards, principal preparation, and use of ESSA Title II funding.

Blogs, Podcasts, Videos and Webinars 

  • This four-part video series from the Wallace Foundations digs into the bold steps taken in Illinois to improve principal preparation by requiring all of its approved programs to reapply for accreditation under higher standards. 
  • This Legislative Action: Rural School Principals Video summarizes the first rural specific NCSL school leadership policy meeting.
  • In this University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) Webinar "How States Can Promote Effective Principals," NCSL's Kelly Latterman and Professor Paul Manna discuss state policy levers for improving the school principal pipeline.
  • NCSL's Kelly Latterman offers six fast facts on school principals and why they are crucial to student success. 60 Seconds on School Principals.
  • With the passing of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), state policymakers discuss the importance of school leadership and what their states are doing to improve the pipeline of effective school principals. Importance of School Leadership Video.

Other Resources

Kelly Latterman is a policy specialist in the Education Program. Kelly specializes in school leadership, governance, and rural education state policies.