In January, The Wallace Foundation released the fourth in a series of studies examining the experiences of six districts in the Principal Pipeline Initiative. This most recent report, Building a Stronger Principalship, Vol. 4: Evaluating and Supporting Principals, explores the districts’ work to change their approach to principal performance evaluation, and it echoes many of the recommendations NASSP has put forth, including:

  • Using evaluation to help principals improve, rather than penalizing them for shortcomings
  • Emphasizing both student achievement and sound principal work practices in performance assessments
  • Encouraging regular conversations between principals and their supervisors
  • Shifting the focus of the principal supervisor job from overseeing compliance with regulations to helping principals succeed as instructional leaders

Sadly, very few of these elements reflect the current state of evaluation for most principals. The timing of this report with the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), however, reminds us of our renewed opportunity to improve that condition. Especially now that ESSA requires states to reduce their reliance on test scores for assessing school performance, principals can renew their case for evaluation systems that are fair, flexible, and formative. To inform that case, I encourage you to read the Wallace report at and revisit NASSP’s report Rethinking Principal Evaluation at

Principal Leadership will take its summer hiatus, so this is my final message to you until you return to school in September. Rest assured that we will continue our advocacy on your behalf, tackling principal evaluation and other topics that directly affect your work and your school. As school winds down, we will ramp up our efforts to inform and mobilize principals to raise their voices and will work with your local and state organizations to shape the implementation of ESSA.

I wish you all the best as your school year winds down. Have a peaceful, restful summer!

JoAnn Bartoletti
Executive Director, NASSP