NAESP Study about the Principalship

Social-emotional learning, mental health, and student poverty are among the top student-related concerns of Pre-K through grade 8 principals, according to The Pre-K School Leader in 2018: A 10-Year Study.   

Since 1928, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) has collected data on the climate, challenges, and conditions that mark the principalship. In the latest version of the study, the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) was proud to partner with NAESP.

The study imparts new information about the current education climate; challenges facing veteran, early career and assistant principals; and the conditions under which they work.

The study reviews data in areas including:  

— Experience and professional preparation;

— Accountability and decision-making;

— Conditions of employment;

— Professional learning needs; and

— Future career intentions.

“Recent research has shown that 20 percent of principals leave their positions each year, with almost 30 percent of principals in high-poverty schools leaving each year. In fact, the average school tenure of a principal is less than five years,” said Ed Fuller, who is UCEA Associate Director for Policy and one of the report authors. “This high rate of churn has negative effects on both teachers and students as well as costs districts a substantial amount of money. Some emerging research suggests that the working conditions of principals substantially affects their decisions to stay in a school. Moreover, working conditions appear to also affect their effectiveness on the job. Thus, understanding how to better support principals in the important work they do is critical to improving schools.”

Responses to the 2018 NAESP 10-year study identify multiple areas of professional development need, including improving student performance, improving staff performance, understanding and applying technology, time management, using social media effectively, and school improvement planning.

For more, see the full report: