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School Leadership Initiative

Research shows that principals account for 25% of a school’s total impact on student achievement. Principals also play a critical role in hiring, training, supporting, and retaining effective teachers and improving the overall school climate. While significant focus has been paid to what we know about effective teachers in schools, little attention has been given to the role of the school leader despite the fact that districts are facing a shortage of high-quality principal candidates.

Rooted in President and Mrs. Bush’s belief that “excellent schools must first have excellent leaders,” the Bush Institute developed the School Leadership Initiative to dramatically improve the way our Nation’s principals are prepared and supported.

Well-trained, supported, effective principals have a significant impact on:

  • recruitment and retention of best teachers
  • school improvement
  • student achievement
  • closing the achievement gap in the U.S.

The School Leadership Initiative is transforming districts’ talent management of school principals and helping to ensure that school districts have the knowledge and tools to attract and retain effective principals.

Core Components

  • Identify research on what we know about effective school principals
  • Study and share district policies and practices that support effective principals
  • Codify and share effective practices that improve the quality of school principals
  • Increase attention on the importance of effective, well-supported leaders in schools

Research shows that principals are a significant school-level factor affecting student achievement. Because of this, the Bush Institute created the Principal Talent Management Framework to guide school district leaders and policymakers.

Read the Framework

In the Spotlight: Katie Lundgren, Principal, Marie Reed Elementary School

As leader of Marie Reed Elementary School in the Adams-Morgan section of Washington, D.C., Katie Lundgren’s story provides a way to understand how school districts can prepare principals for their critical work. Her career also shows how districts can provide principals with the right supports. And her journey underscores that recruiting, developing, and retaining strong leaders does not happen without districts intentionally making that happen. This is all about creating the conditions within a district so schools can have quality leaders.

Recommended Resources

Since its launch, the School Leadership Initiative has convened partners, highlighted gaps in research and practice, and created case studies and tools for school districts.

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Principals develop great teachers and create working conditions that keep those great teachers in the field.

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