Strong Principal Talent Management Increases Principal Retention

Learn more about Eva Chiang.
Eva Chiang
Former Managing Director, Leadership and Programming
George W. Bush Institute
Learn more about Anne Wicks.
Anne Wicks
Anne Wicks
Don Evans Family Managing Director, Opportunity and Democracy
George W. Bush Institute

Findings from five years of working with the School Leadership District Cohort

Being a principal is a hard job in normal circumstances, but COVID-19 made the job of leading campuses nearly impossible for many. According to a recent NASSP survey, one out of two principals say their stress level is so high that they are considering career change or retirement. But districts can take steps to support and retain their principals – and recruit new ones – to ensure that their campuses are led by strong school leaders.

We spent five years working with four school districts to better understand the impact of Principal Talent Management on school leaders. At the outset of this work, called the School Leadership District Cohort, we believed that if districts improve their Principal Talent Management policy and practice, principals will stay longer in their jobs. Over time, those school leaders will help to develop and retain strong teachers, which will ultimately help improve student academic outcomes. What we learned with our cohort partners can help other districts take effective action.