Districts Benefit from Leader Tracking Systems

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Districts Benefit from Leader Tracking Systems

MaryAnn Jobe
Director, Leadership Development
AASA, The School Superintendents Association 

AASA is proud to produce the Ed Leadership Blog that will provide relevant school district leadership information and research, as well as commentaries. This blog is supported by The Wallace Foundation.

Struggling schools need effective principals to turn them around, but little is known about how districts can develop such principals. Supported by The Wallace Foundation, the Principal Pipeline Initiative (PPI) helped six urban school districts improve how they train, place and support principals.

According to one key research finding, most of the districts were interested in boosting the number of strong principal candidates in part because they had seen a decrease in the size and quality of the applicant pool. (PSA Report, 2013)

The six urban school districts that looked at how they could increase their bench of leaders to find qualified principals for their schools are: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Schools, N.C.; Denver Public Schools, Colo.; Gwinnett County Public Schools, Ga.; Hillsborough County Public Schools, Fla.; New York City Public Schools, N.Y.; and Prince George’s County Public Schools, Md.

I have been to Gwinnett County Schools and what it is doing is amazing. The staff involved in the PPI work have built a technology dashboard and data system where Alvin Wilbanks, superintendent and CEO of the district, can search district candidates for openings that occur in leadership positions. This did not come easily. Gwinnett had to look at the internal practices and the leader standards it used for developing, nurturing and keeping great leaders. It worked on developing leader standards that tie into the Georgia state requirements and built an observation and evaluation system around the new standards.

Today, Gwinnett is among one of the leading districts across the country that is using state-of-the-art technology and data decision-making to ensure that the right person can do the job. Does your district look at your talent and is your ‘principal bench’ deep enough?

This work is being emulated in another Wallace initiative, The University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI).

MaryAnn Jobe is the director of leadership development with AASA and serves as project lead of AASA’s Principal Pipeline Initiative.