State Snapshots For Strengthening The Educator Workforce

A series of conversations with nationally recognized experts in the education field on strategies and promising practices for strengthening educator recruitment and retention, including for advancing school leadership policies and priorities at the gubernatorial and state level, hosted by the NGA’s Center for Best Practices K-12 Education Team. For additional information, research, and resources on principals and school leaders, please visit the Wallace Foundation Knowledge Center


Principals’ Impact on Students and Schools: A Conversation with Dr. Jason Grissom

In this episode, Dr. Jason Grissom, Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor of Public Policy and Education at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College; faculty director of the Tennessee Education Research Alliance and immediate past president of the Association for Education Finance and Policy, shares his findings from the 2021 Wallace Foundation report, How Principals Affect Students and Schools: A Systematic Synthesis of Two Decades of Research. This report outlines the changing role of principals and their impact on students, educators and schools. As Dr. Grissom reflected on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, he discussed his recent paper, Leading Schools and Districts in Times of Crisis, and shared examples of how principals led their schools and communities during that time. Dr. Grissom also discussed key levers and strategies that Governors and states can use to strengthen principal recruitment and retention in their states.  For additional models and exemplars in this area, please see the Wallace Foundation’s Principal Pipelines reports.

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Episode 12: State Partnerships for Advancing School Leadership

The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) hosted a webinar, State Partnerships Advancing School Leadership, in partnership with NGA, Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). This webinar featured Dr. Paul Manna, Isabelle and Jerome E. Hyman Distinguished University Professor of Government and Director of Public Policy Program at William & Mary; Alonna Berry, education advisor for Governor John Carney of Delaware; Matt Blomstedt, former Nebraska Commissioner of Education; Francisco Escobedo, member of California’s State Board of Education, and Paolo DeMaria, NASBE President and CEO. Dr. Manna presented findings from his recent report, States as Leaders, Followers, and Partners: Lessons from the ESSA Leadership Learning Community and the University Principal Preparation Initiative. Panelists discussed best practices and state examples regarding strategies for recruiting and retaining a high-quality educator workforce, including supporting the pipeline for effective principals and school leaders.

For more on Governor Carney and Delaware’s efforts to develop and support principals and school leaders, please see the Delaware Academy of School Leadership, the Governor’s Institute for School Leadership and Episode 1 in this series featuring a conversation with Dr. Jackie Wilson, Director of the Delaware Academy of School Leadership.

Episode 11: Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond on Preparing and Developing Effective Principals & School Leaders

In this episode, Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University, Founding President and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute and President of the California State Board of Education, shares the findings of her new report Developing Effective Principals: What Kind of Learning Matters?. Dr. Darling-Hammond focuses on how effective principals positively impact teachers and the learning environment and best practices for preparing and supporting future principals, building on the findings of her 2007 report, Preparing School Leaders for a Changing World: Lessons from Exemplary Leadership Development Programs. Additional information and examples can be found in this Learning Policy Institute brief, Statewide School Leadership Initiatives.

Episode 10: Dr. Constance Lindsay on Policy Levers for Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse, High-Quality Educator Workforce

In this episode, Dr. Constance Lindsay of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education shares findings from a February 2021 report, How Principals Affect Students and Schools: A Systematic Synthesis of Two Decades of Research. She discusses the foundational skills and behaviors that diverse, high-quality principals demonstrate, resulting in positive outcomes for students, teachers, and schools. Dr. Lindsay also highlighted some exemplars from districts and states across the country, including the Equity-Centered Pipeline Initiative supported by the Wallace Foundation. 

Episode 9: Dr. Paul Manna On State Policy Levers To Support Principal Pipelines

In this episode, Dr. Paul Manna of William and Mary shares findings from his new report, How Can State Policy Support Local School Districts as They Develop Comprehensive and Aligned Principal Pipelines? He discusses strategies for Governors to leverage state-level policy to support local school districts in developing school principal pipelines building on his findings from the 2015 report, Developing Excellent School Principals to Advance Teaching and Learning: Considerations for State Policy.

Episode 8: Jason Dougal On International Examplars

In this episode of the NGA Education School Leadership Hot Topics podcast, Jason Dougal, the chief executive officer of the National Institute for School Leadership and executive vice president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, discusses strategies for developing and supporting principals and school leaders. He also spotlights exemplars in principal development from high-performing education systems around the world.

Episode 7: Dr. Cortney Rowland On Principal Professional Development

In this episode, Dr. Cortney Rowland, the senior technical assistant consultant at the American Institutes for Research, shares the primary findings of her 2017 report, Principal Professional Development: New Opportunities for a Renewed State Focus. She also discusses the levers that governors and state policymakers can use to not only develop a strong pipeline of effective school leaders, but also continue to build upon the capacity of sitting principals.

Episode 6: Dr. Paul Manna On Using ESSA To Help Prepare Principals

In this episode, Dr. Paul Manna of the College of William and Mary shares his insights on how governors and states can strengthen their preparation, development and support systems for school principals, including through the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Episode 5: Deven Scott Of The Education Commission Of The States

In this episode, state relations strategist for the Education Commission of the States (ECS), Deven Scott, discusses ECS’s School Leadership Policy Primer for Policymakers, including levers the commission identified for advancing school leadership in states and examples of states that are elevating this work across the nation.

Episode 4: Dr. Steve Tozer On Principal Preparation

In this episode, Dr. Steve Tozer of the University of Illinois-Chicago shares his insights on how governors and states can improve principal preparation and development; lessons learned from his work in Illinois and around the country to develop effective principals and school leaders; and an overview of current models of innovative university principal preparation partnerships. For more information on university principal preparation partnerships, please read the Wallace Foundation’s recent report, Launching a Redesign of University Principal Preparation Programs: Partners Collaborate For Change.

Episode 3: New Leaders

In this episode, Sarah Rosenberg, senior director of policy for New Leaders, discusses research on the impact and key attributes of effective principals, and ways in which governors and states are moving forward in this area, including through the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Episode 2: Learning Policy Institute

In this episode, Learning Policy Institute leaders discuss new reports on principal turnover; the impact of principal leadership and support on teacher shortages; and ways that states are using the Every Student Succeeds Act to develop and support principals and school leaders. The episode features Jessica Cardichon, director of federal policy and director of the Washington, D.C., office, and Stephanie Levin, research manager, speaking with Seth Gerson, NGA Education program director for K-12 initiatives.

Episode 1: Principal Pipelines

In this episode, Dr. Jackie Wilson, an assistant professor at the University of Delaware School of Education, shares her expertise and insights on the value of school leadership and strategies that governors and state policymakers can draw on to support the development and growth of principals and school leaders.  Dr. Wilson is also the director of the Delaware Academy for School Leadership and the executive director of the National Policy Board for Educational Administration.  For more information on building effective principal pipelines, please read the new RAND Corporation report, Principal Pipelines: A Feasible, Affordable, and Effective Way for Districts to Improve Schools.

Related Resources

School Leadership Under ESSA: State Highlights

State Highlight: Louisiana’s Efforts To Develop And Support School Leaders