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Setting the Example: Bush Institute's Principal Talent Management Framework

July 2, 2018 by Anne Wicks, Eva Myrick Chiang
The Chicago Public Education Fund's Principal Quality Community of Practice used the George W. Bush Institute’s Principal Talent Management Framework as a guidepost to diagnose areas of improvements in school leadership.

Recently, the Chicago Public Education Fund convened about a dozen organizations who work with different school districts at the local, state, and national level to discuss how school districts can improve the way they prepare, recruit, support, and retain great principals. This Principal Quality Community of Practice, supported by the Joyce Foundation, used the George W. Bush Institute’s Principal Talent Management Framework as a guidepost to diagnose areas of improvements in school leadership.

Prior to the workshop, each team assessed the status of a district in their region according to six strands outlined in the framework: working environment, preparation, recruitment and selection, professional learning, performance evaluation, and compensation and incentives. The Framework proved helpful in a number of ways. For the first time, some organizations were exposed to best practices for principal talent management, and provided a straight-forward way to help them organize their work. This was coupled with a focus by the Chicago Public Fund on effective implementation, which mirrors the work the Bush Institute is doing in our School Leadership Initiative by helping districts improve how they implement and sustain their work.

Also, the Framework helped participants make some big decisions. For example, one participant mentioned that the Framework was confirming what her instincts were telling her, but provided the right amount of evidence to help her scope the work she wanted to do with districts.   

Finally, hearing the questions raised in the community of practice highlighted where others in the field are still struggling. In some component areas we have pretty solid answers on best practices. For example, we know what makes principal evaluation systems effective. In others, however, the answer is not so clear.

The Bush Institute’s framework is also being implemented and tested across four school districts as part of the School Leadership Initiative. Similar questions are arising as we meet with those districts and work through the different component areas. The districts consistently want to know how to provide principal support and professional learning. This is not an easy task, especially since we believe strongly that most professional learning for principals should be job embedded. And, in order to truly target what type of professional learning a principal needs, we have to first have a reliable understanding of their strengths and gaps. That is why we started our work with improving principal evaluation systems. We are hopeful by working through the components of the framework we empower districts to provide the necessary support and professional learning principals are asking for.

Each school district has different challenges, but opportunities like the Principal Quality Community of Practice allow for collaboration. Some of the organizations left the working sessions adopting the framework and others used it as a tool to reinforce their current work.


Author

Anne Wicks
Anne Wicks

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. 

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Eva Myrick Chiang
Eva Myrick Chiang

Eva Myrick Chiang, serves as Director of Research and Evaluation for the Bush Institute. She also works on the School Leadership Initiative and provides support in other areas of the education reform initiative as well.

Prior to joining the George W. Bush Institute, she taught pre-k through college level students in a variety of teaching roles in private, public, and charter schools, and her passion is teaching students to read. She has been a trainer of teachers, and most recently she held the position of Director of Education in the central administration office of an urban charter school. 

Eva received her undergraduate degree from Baylor University, and received a master's in teaching with an emphasis on reading education from Texas Woman's University. Eva also earned her law degree from Texas A&M School of Law in Fort Worth. She is currently finishing her doctorate from Southern Methodist University. 

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