District selection and assignment of principals : a Texas case study
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The emphasis on student achievement results to measure school effectiveness has shed a spotlight on the role of the school principals and their impact on student learning. With the past three education reform efforts focusing on student assessment results as a method for school accountability, school district leaders must be strategic in selecting an effective principal who will lead their schools and increase student achievement rates. However, it is not clear how the principals are selected and placed on campuses in the district. Thus, this study focused on an analysis of the pertinent literature related to principal selection and placement to highlight what previous research suggests upon which to identify these practices and the implications for further inquiry. While some previous research has focused on the competencies and methods to screen principal candidates, it is not clear as to how a campus leader is selected. This qualitative study examined the selection methods a school district utilized to hire a campus principal for a low-performing school and the method a school district utilized when assigning a campus principal to a low-performing school. A single case study design was employed in this study and included semi-structured interviews of two key district leaders from a large urban school distinct. Findings from this study suggest the effective selection and assignment practices of principals resulted in rapid turnaround of schools needing improvement in levels of academic performance. The study found that the practices that led to those efforts were the district connectivity in the three areas of leadership alignment, campus fit and differentiated school support systems. Findings also indicate that the calibration of the district systems in the areas of leadership alignment, campus fit, and differentiated district support systems to align with a focus on student outcomes would set the stage for the strategic selection and assignment of principals to drive the turnaround work while increasing the district’s bandwidth to support them once they are assigned.
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