Each October, NASSP joins forces with the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the American Federation of School Administrators to host National Principals Month, a celebration of all that principals do to advance learning. Principals wear many hats, and our organizations dedicate October to reminding both the American public and various stakeholder groups within the education community of just how multifaceted and essential your role is.
This year, we’re taking the message a step further. The principalship is suffering shortages on two fronts that drastically affect a leader’s ability to maximize learning. The teacher shortage, which has been documented and discussed extensively, limits the pool of instructional talent from which principals can draw and, unfortunately, results in a lowering of the bar for entry into the profession. At the same time, new research from NASSP and the Learning Policy Institute is highlighting high attrition in the principal ranks. The Wallace Foundation has done remarkable work to show districts how to build a pipeline of leaders, but public schools are facing the reality that 35 percent of principals do not make it past the third year of their tenure, resulting in halting starts and stops to school improvement efforts and ultimately making some schools immune to change efforts. Of course, both of these shortages are exacerbated in more challenging school situations.
The success of this year’s National Principals Month will be determined not just by how well your work is appreciated, but by how well we build a collective understanding of the current school staffing crisis. Moving forward, you can count on NASSP’s efforts to portray education as the valuable and fulfilling way to spend a career you all know it to be. In the meantime, please accept my best wishes for National Principals Month and my thanks for all you do to build the future we all share.
Executive Director, NASSP