Building an Leadership Pipeline to Create School Leaders

Where will the next generation of outstanding school leaders emerge? Although principals have a high rate of satisfaction from their jobs, more than 80 percent of teachers and 75 percent of teacher leaders nationally indicate they are not likely to pursue the principal role.

According to the report, Building Pathways, by Chris Bierly and Eileen Shay, school systems need to move from leaving great leadership to chance to strategically building an internal pipeline of new leaders. Bierly and Shay surveyed and interviewed a large sample of principals, assistant principals, teachers, and teacher leaders from a cross section of school districts (varying in size and location) and chief marketing officers across the country. The resulting report outlines the challenges to creating a school leadership pipeline and offers a road map for system leaders to establish new standards, practices, and management structures to meet the challenges.

This report contradicts existing evidence. The professional life expectancy of school leaders is extremely low. In the inner cities, it is about eighteen months. Whatever the evidence, we need to create some system to train new school leaders.