Principal Needs Analysis
All aspects of school principal recruitment, selection, development, and support must be driven by a continual assessment of the current and projected needs of each school. This needs assessment should identify current and projected openings (driven by principal mobility and turnover), the types of school placements with openings (grade levels, start-up, turnaround), and the experience levels of current school principals. Each year, more than 25,000 school principals (22% of all principals) leave their schools to move to another school (5.9%), leave the profession altogether (11.5%) or leave their positions for other reasons (4.6%). The data also show a demographic bubble of school principals nearing retirement, 36,220 (32%) 55 years or older, likely increasing the need. Additionally, 42% (47,960) have less that 3 years’ experience, a key factor as research suggests it takes at least 3 years to learn the job and an average of 5 years to impact a school’s performance positively. All of these numbers are significantly worse for low-performing, high-poverty schools. Overall, the data suggest a significant need for effective school principals.