Research shows that teacher quality and principal quality are the two most important in-school factors for student success. The two are also closely linked. Principals significantly influence teacher quality as the talent managers of schools—they hire, develop and evaluate teachers— ensuring a strong level of instruction across a school. Teachers also choose to join and stay at schools with strong leadership. In a recent study, the number one factor cited by teachers (96 percent) in their decision of whether to stay in their school is their principal.
Great leaders attract, develop and retain great teachers, and together they transform educational outcomes for students. In this way, talented leaders have a multiplier effect, inspiring high-quality teaching across a building—not just in isolated classrooms – so that children can achieve at high levels throughout their time in school.
Therefore systems to evaluate principals should focus primarily on their success in increasing student achievement and teacher effectiveness outcomes (70 percent), and they should also assess principals’ demonstration of key leadership actions (30 percent). Local school systems should then use these evaluations to drive not only key accountability decisions, but also to support professional learning and growth for principals. By changing principal evaluation systems, we can promote a powerful vision of principal effectiveness and improve outcomes for students.