Rethinking Principal Evaluation

Harvard Education Letter | August 20, 2013

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In an article appearing in the Harvard Education Letter, Deanna Burney and Robert Hughes expand the discussion of principal evaluation to include the need to take into account a school principal’s instructional leadership and growth and development. They propose a four-stage (apprentice, resident, master, and mentor) development model based on individualized continuous support provided by exemplary peers.

Their growth-oriented model outlines at each stage what principals will experience, learn, and produce, as well as how they will collaborate and share with their peers, colleagues, and all other school community members.  Further, Burney and Hughes suggest that consideration be given to linking their principal development model with corresponding certification, allowing educational leaders to move from apprentice to resident principal, from resident to master principal, and, for a select few, from master to mentor principal.  Such a systems approach promises continuous learning, support, and full commitment to the practice of principalship, and clearly communicates increased competency, performance, and achievement over time.

Deanna Burney is executive director for Leading by Learning, LLC. Robert Hughes is president and chief executive officer for the National Institute of School Leadership (NISL).

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