Successful School Leadership Preparation and Development: Volume 17


Table of contents

(22 chapters)

The United States Department of Education School Leadership Program funds aspiring and current school leadership preparation programs throughout the United States. These projects represent over 100 million in funding educational leadership development since 2002. In this book we have sought to provide the reader a variety of lessons learned from grants originally awarded in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Within these pages you will learn about the experiences of grantees and how they have worked to provide exemplary preparation for aspiring and current assistant principals and principals in the United States. It is our hope that you will use these chapters to support and strengthen your own programs in order to provide training for our schools’ leaders, who, in turn will work to provide high quality educational experiences for our nation's students.

Through the perspectives of a grant director and external evaluator, this chapter explores processes used and lessons learned to design and conduct ongoing evaluation of a multisite university-based principalship program supported in part by a US Department of Education grant. Using frameworks developed by Guskey (2000) and Kirkpatrick (1998), the authors highlight the conceptual context of program evaluation and describe the process used to develop a comprehensive evaluation plan aligned to program goals. The chapter appendix includes a summary of Developing Evaluation Evidence (Orr, Young, & Rorrer, 2010), a free program evaluation planning resource available at

In this chapter, we describe the strategies used in establishing the Great Leaders for Great Schools Academy (GLGSA), a high impact and sustainable university–district partnership and the first program to be accredited under California’s experimental standards for principal preparation. The partnership has evolved into a robust professional learning community dedicated to the task of preparing practice-ready school leaders with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to turn around low performing schools in the Pomona Unified School District. Chapter contents also include descriptions of the key elements of the GLGSA and seven recommendations for those who desire to establish innovative and collaborative approaches to leadership preparation.

This chapter examines the process of ongoing planning and changing of an innovative urban school leadership development and preparation program at California State University Dominguez Hills. Currently in its fourth consecutive year, the five-year Urban School Leaders (USL) program is the result of a partnership with Local Districts 5, 6, 7, and 8 within Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and California State University Dominguez Hills (CSUDH). The program is intended to prepare, place, and retain leaders for high needs schools and provide staff development to these leaders with the ultimate outcome resulting in student achievement gains. LAUSD Local Districts 5–8 are contiguous and in close proximity to CSUDH. These districts encompass some of Los Angeles’ poorest neighborhoods, including East LA, South LA, South Central LA, and the Harbor area. In this chapter, we outline the various components of the USL program and share reflections on the planning and improvement process in our efforts to strengthen and improve the community of professional practice within the program.

The impact of an effective principal on the quality of teaching and learning has been clearly established. Logically, the next question to be answered is: How can we best prepare principals to lead the improvement of instructional practices and outcomes for students? Partnerships between school districts and universities have shown the capacity to be an effective means of preparing principals, and much has been confirmed about how those partnerships should be structured in order to benefit both partners. This document looks briefly at the literature that describes and supports these partnerships, outlines the framework of a successful partnership in Florida, and provides insightful “lessons learned” throughout the planning, implementation, and evaluation of that partnership.

Since both organizations realize important benefits, constructing a district/university partnership should be easy. However, differences in the professional cultures of the two organizations as well as differences in the demands and constraints they each face make it a challenging task. From finding the right university partner to planning the collaborative work in detail; what was learned in the Florida partnership is described in straightforward terms. In this way, the document provides a road map to a successful district and university partnership.

There is growing national attention on the question of how the quality of leadership preparation programs can help to develop effective school leaders and thus impact student learning (Davis, Darling-Hammond, LaPointe, & Meyerson, 2005). In recent years several educational leadership preparation programs have redesigned their content and delivery to be more influential in graduates’ leadership development and subsequent leadership practice focused on school improvement (Young, 2009). Davis, et al. (2005) add that exemplary programs that are effective include important components such as having a rigorous selection process in admission of candidates.

This chapter discusses the recruitment and selection mode utilized by the University of Texas at Austin Principalship Program (UTAPP), which includes several key components associated with exemplary preparation programs (Darling-Hammond, LaPointe, Meyerson, Orr & Cohen, 2007). These components include: rigorous recruitment and careful selection of participants, a cohort structure, and an emphasis on powerful authentic learning experiences (Orr, 2006). While the process has undergone some changes in reason years, it has sought to explore multiple manifestations of the candidate’s leadership. As a result, the program’s recruitment and selection process has evolved into the current iteration, which is outlined in this chapter.

In this chapter we discuss the content and process of the Learning-Centered Leadership Development Program for Practicing and Aspiring Principals. In terms of the content, based on extensive literature review the program focuses on seven dimensions of principal leadership associated with student achievement. In terms of process, one pair of practicing and aspiring principals from each school engage in five levels of learning – moving from (a) experiential, to (b) declarative, to (c) procedural, to (d) contextual, and to (e) evidential. The pair of practicing and aspiring principals works with two additional teacher leaders to develop sufficient leadership density in the school to plan and implement renewal activities along the seven dimensions to improve student achievement. We also reflect upon the lessons learned from implementing the program.

The Partnership for Improvement in Rural Leadership and Learning (PIRLL) grant had a goal of improving school leadership in rural and remote locations across South Dakota. The work included recruitment and training of aspiring principals as well as capacity building for practicing principals. The two key elements used to meet this goal were development of a customized principal preparation program and providing On-site mentoring and professional development for practicing principals. A desired outcome was to increase the capacity and availability of school leaders who would be culturally responsive to the needs of students and remain in high-needs schools in South Dakota.

Social entrepreneurs and market-driven organizations are those that hold themselves accountable to both social and financial outcomes; they advance their mission by building focused strategies and sustainable business models that address customer needs and yield competitive advantage. In order to apply these market-based approaches toward social solutions, leaders must first be equipped with skills and resources to build organizational capacity that can deliver results. Wendy Kopp, Founder and Executive Director of Teach for America, recently summarized this point during a convening at the Annie E. Casey Foundation of leaders across sectors: “There’s nothing more important than talent and team in organization building as we think about how to get where we want to go”. Teach for America address. Annie E. Casey Foundation Baltimore, MD).

This chapter provides an overview of the development of a USDE SLP-funded leadership preparation partnership between a local school division and our university. We specifically describe our efforts to cultivate an authentic and purposeful partnership that would allow us to move beyond the limitations of the traditional leadership preparation programs that have been so widely criticized in the literature. This chapter describes the research and development efforts which involved iterative cycles of design, implementation, reflection, and redesign that helped to identify problems of practice and develop meaningful solutions to these identified areas of need. We also discuss four key elements of effective university–school partnerships that grew out of our efforts to build and refine an effective partnership.

This chapter highlights the collaborative efforts of committed partners engaged in four distinct yet inter-related programs designed to build leadership capacity across schools serving rural Alaska. The Rural Alaska Principal Preparation and Support (RAPPS) program has built a comprehensive system of leadership development programs that develop aspiring leaders, induct and coach new principals, promote the professional learning of practicing principals, and support the school improvement efforts of the state education department. Each program is described in detail with special attention devoted to the unique elements of the program designs, including summer institutes; cohort models; distance learning offerings; targeted coaching; blended learning models using webinars; critical friends’ conversations; and a festival of ideas. Lessons learned are highlighted, and impact and evaluation results are also detailed.

As states and districts increasingly focus on school leadership training programs, one less discussed yet vital component is the support mechanisms that can accelerate school leadership performance. This chapter highlights the unique school coaching model developed by NYC Leadership Academy (Leadership Academy), a national organization focused on improving student outcomes through effective leadership practice. Using a standards-based, facilitative approach to coaching early-career leaders in high-need schools, the Leadership Academy has developed a rigorous process for training and developing a cadre of coaches to provide intensive coaching support to school leaders that focuses on strengthening their leadership performance. The chapter discusses the methods and results of the Leadership Academy’s coaching model for the 139 principals leading high-need schools as part of the U.S. Department of Education’s School Leadership Program (SLP) and offers insights into school leadership coaching as a distinct professional practice in education.

This chapter presents an integrated model of principal preparation featuring full-time internships and enquiry-based coursework. The development of the full-time internship component is the result of an award of a US DoE School Leadership Program grant in 2008 to expand and enhance the Ritchie Program for School Leaders, a collaborative principal preparation program between University of Denver and Denver Public Schools. The integration of Shulman’s (2005) model of practical, cognitive, and moral apprenticeships for professional education provided the foundation of the design and implementation of full-time internships through this collaborative partnership for principal preparation. Collaboration among interns, host principals, district leadership, and university faculty provides the focus, means, and structures of learning. This chapter describes the evolution of the Ritchie Program for School Leaders through features and initial impact of full-time internships and offers lessons learned about mentoring aspiring leaders.

Josh Bendickson is a Ph.D. student at Louisiana State University in the E. J. Ourso College of Business. He teaches principles of management in the Rucks Department of Management and is also involved in the Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute. His research interests include strategy, entrepreneurship, and management history.

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Advances in Educational Administration
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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