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If You Want Great Teachers, Hire Great Principals
Teachers are on the front lines every day. It’s indisputable that a great teacher can deeply impact a student’s life in a positive way. And, if we want effective teachers in our classrooms, we must have strong principals in place to effectively recruit, support, and retain teachers.
Think for a minute about the best boss you ever had. That person challenged you, but also supported you, and had your back to make sure you were successful. That is what great principals do for teachers and students: they hire and support great teachers, and they set a positive school culture for kids and their families.
Early in my career, I taught eighth-grade social studies. It was both awesome and intensely difficult. Despite working hard, I was flying blind most days, and I needed some expert help to serve my students well. I think my principal visited my classroom only once that year.
Ultimately, I am not sure if my students were really on track, and, at the end of the year, I decided to leave the classroom despite loving many aspects of teaching. Looking back on that experience has always made me a bit sad, and it made me wonder if the experience could have been different for me and – most importantly – my students had I benefited from the coaching of a strong instructional leader.
I know my story is a common one. The need for better school leaders is the reason we believe in supporting districts to improve how they recruit, support, and retain those highly effective principals who foster student success and keep our great, highly effective teachers in the classroom.
Anne Wicks serves as the Director of Education Reform at the Bush Institute. In this role, she develops and oversees the policy, research, and engagement work of the Education Reform team.
Before joining the Bush Institute, Wicks served for five years as Associate Dean for External Relations at the University of Southern California's Rossier School of Education. In addition to leading a team with revenue, communications, and engagement goals, she supported Dean Karen Symms Gallagher on a variety of special projects including the launch and early growth of Ednovate Charter Schools. She currently serves as the chair of PMC Support, a supporting organization for Ednovate Schools. Over her career, she has held management and resource development roles at organizations including Teach for America, the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health, and Stanford University. Anne holds a B.A in American Studies and a M.A. in Education from Stanford University (during which she taught 8th grade social studies), as well as a M.B.A. from the University of Southern California. A former captain of Stanford's women's volleyball team, Anne was part of three national championship teams, two as a player and one as an assistant coach.Full Bio
Two-Minute Take: Happy National Principals Month!
"At the George W. Bush Institute, we believe that principals are essential to student success. They set a positive school culture for the kids and adults in the building, and they bring a rigorous focus on instruction and academics so that all kids can succeed."
Summer Camp: Granite Public Schools
Our School Leadership team is working hand-in-hand with four school districts across the country to help them find, support, and retain effective principals. This summer, the team made visits to all four school districts to check in on their progress. Last stop: Granite Public Schools.
Summer Camp: Chesterfield County Public Schools
Our School Leadership team is working hand-in-hand with four school districts across the country to help them find, support, and retain effective principals. This summer, the team made visits to all four school districts to check in on their progress. Third stop: Chesterfield County Public Schools.
Summer Camp: Fort Worth Independent School District
Our School Leadership team is working hand-in-hand with four school districts across the country to help them find, support, and retain effective principals. This summer, the team made visits to all four school districts to check in on their progress. Second stop: Fort Worth Independent School District.