The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and Learning Policy Institute (LPI) partnered on an intensive research project in 2019-2020 to identify the causes and impact of principal turnover nationwide. The research has identified key factors that cause principal turnover through a national survey of school leaders and a close examination of existing data and literature.

Analysis of the survey results has shed new light on principals’ mobility decisions, and the findings have enabled NASSP and LPI to make informed policy recommendations at the federal, state, and local levels that will further support and help retain high-quality school leaders. These policy recommendations can be found in the research report, which is available now.

Download the NASSP-LPI Research Partnership FAQ and the NASSP-LPI Research Overview to learn more about the initiative, and all the products in the series below.

Research Report

Supporting a Strong, Stable Principal Workforce: What Matters and What Can Be Done

Research Report • May 2020

Following an expansive national research initiative, NASSP and LPI have released a report that analyzes a national survey of principals, uncovers key reasons that school leaders are leaving their schools and the profession, and puts forward a blueprint for federal, state, and local lawmakers to enact policy that supports and retains high-quality school leaders. The report contextualizes the NASSP-LPI initiative and explains where it fits within the national education research and policy landscape.

Research Briefs

Understanding and Addressing Principal Turnover

Research Brief 1 • March 2019

Principals are vital for ensuring student success and play a major role in retaining effective teachers. Principal turnover can therefore be disruptive to school progress, often resulting in higher teacher turnover and ultimately lower gains in student achievement. Explore which schools are most vulnerable to principal turnover and five key strategies to reduce it in the first brief of the NASSP and LPI research agenda.

Principal Turnover Insights from Current Principals

Research Brief 2 • July 2019

The second brief in the series draws on evidence from focus groups to better understand the challenges principals face and highlights ways to support principals and increase their retention. Focus group participants identified multiple strategies, including high-quality professional learning opportunities, support from strong administrative teams with adequate school-level resources, competitive salaries, appropriate decision-making authority, and evaluations characterized by timely and formative feedback.

Supporting a Strong, Stable Principal Workforce: What Matters and What Can Be Done

Research Brief 3 • May 2020

The third brief in the series provides an actionable document for policymakers and outlines recommendations from the research report, “Supporting a Strong, Stable Principal Workforce: What Matters and What Can Be Done.”