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The George W. Bush Institute Launches Groundbreaking Initiative To Improve The Leadership Of America’s Public Schools

February 3, 2013

The "Alliance to Reform Education Leadership" Will Enahance the Ability of Principals and Superintendents to Lead

The George W. Bush Institute today announced the largest initiative in history to enhance the achievement of America’s children by improving the performance of America’s school principals. The initiative creates an innovative, nationwide network to transform the way school districts identify, recruit, prepare, empower, and evaluate their leaders. Mrs. Laura W. Bush, joined by educators and business and civic leaders, announced the program at North Dallas High School.

“I have devoted much of my life to literacy and education,” said Laura W. Bush. “We know that a quality education is essential to a successful life, yet too many of our nation’s children are falling behind. The Alliance is an extension of President Bush’s and my long commitment to improving our nation’s public schools, and we are excited about its transformational potential.”

Leading organizations in education reform from across the nation are also part of AREL. Teach for America, New Leaders for New Schools, KIPP, The Rainwater Leadership Alliance in cooperation with the Rainwater Charitable Foundation, and the Council for Education Change are collaborating with the Alliance and contributing to its mission.

AREL convenes experts from the public and private sectors, as well as the military and academia, to apply proven leadership practices to the important job of educating our children and running effective schools. Elements of the project include:


  • a network of local pilot sites working together to research, improve, and implement a game-changing model,
  • a new and innovative curriculum and clinical experiences for training principals,
  • assurances from school districts that they will give principals the management authority and responsibility they need to improve student achievement,
  • a robust pool of trainee candidates, creating an attractive and extended public school career path for a broader range of able and ambitious individuals,
  • a national performance-based certification program, and
  • a global education performance report with a quantitative index for measuring progress in student achievement.


“Education reform starts at the top,” said James W. Guthrie, senior fellow and director of education policy studies at the Institute. “We want to help school leaders succeed. By marshalling the resources, intellect and skills of both the public and private sectors, our vision is to change the paradigm by which school principals in the United States are identified, recruited, selected, prepared, evaluated, certified, and empowered.”

Initial funding for AREL is being made possible through a generous $1 million contribution by AT&T. “This unique collaboration provides best practices in executive leadership for our educators, whose dedication and effectiveness is instrumental to student achievement,” said Charlene Lake, senior vice president for public affairs and chief sustainability officer for AT&T. “Great school leaders bring about great faculty, and create an environment for effective learning. Our giving is focused on helping our students succeed, which is key to our country remaining a leader in the global economy.”

Additional support has also been contributed by the Bradley Foundation, a leading philanthropic institution seeking to improve parents’ educational opportunities for their children in elementary and secondary education.

AREL will launch with pilot programs led by Bush Institute partners in the following locations:

Dallas, Texas—Ed-Entrepreneur Center, SMU Simmons School of Education, Teaching Trust, Uplift Education, Dallas ISD
Fort Worth, Texas—Fort Worth ISD
Plano, Texas—Plano ISD, UT Dallas
Denver, Colorado—Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL), University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business
St. Louis, Missouri—Saint Louis University Cook School of Business
Indianapolis, Indiana—Indiana Department of Education, Marian University

About the George W. Bush Institute: The George W. Bush Institute’s mission is to unleash human potential around the world through expanding human freedom, educational reform, global health, and economic growth. In all its programming, the Institute seeks to empower women and social entrepreneurs as proven agents of change in society. The Institute is part of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, which includes the Presidential library, located on the campus of SMU in Dallas. For more information, please visit www.georgewbushcenter.com.