As NASSP aspires to transform education by supporting leadership, we need a common language for discussing effective leadership for today’s schools. The Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL) provide that direction.

Principal standards for many years have been the domain of a collective of education leadership stakeholder organizations, which combine to form the National Policy Board for Educational Administration (NPBEA). In 2015, an NPBEA committee, led by NASSP Deputy Executive Director Beverly Hutton, overhauled the existing standards to create a new set of standards that are both aspirational and steeped in the realities of school leadership. We gathered input and feedback from thousands of school leaders. With their encouragement, we challenged the field to expand the lens of leadership to capture not just management and instruction, but matters of social justice, cultural responsiveness, and the need to intentionally eradicate the marginalization of certain student populations.

These new standards have the power to advance our profession, but only if states adopt them. As I am honored to chair the NPBEA this year, my goal is to get each state to adopt the standards by infusing them into the principal’s entire career journey-from candidate identification to preparation to induction to evaluation and ongoing development. We have a head start; eight states have already confirmed adoption, and many others have adapted them for their own needs. I encourage each of you to review the standards at and talk with your state policymakers about how the PSEL can—and should—correspond with your own state’s principal standards.

Thank you for all you do to maximize the potential of each student in your school. Please know it is NASSP’s honor to advance your work and to advocate for the high standards expressed in the PSEL.

JoAnn Bartoletti

Executive Director, NASSP