Principal Attrition and Mobility

The National Center for Education Statistics released a new First Look report entitled Principal Attrition and Mobility: Results From the 2016–17 Principal Follow-up Survey. This report presents selected findings from the Public School Principal Status Data File of the 2016–17 Principal Follow-up Survey (PFS). The PFS is a nationally representative sample survey of public K–12 schools in the 50 states and District of Columbia and was initiated to inform discussions and decisions regarding principal attrition and mobility.

Findings include the following:

  • Eighty-two percent of public school principals in 2015-16 were in the same school the following year, 6 percent moved to a different school and 10 percent left the profession.  An additional 2 percent of principals were from schools that reported the principal had left, but the school was unable to report the current occupational status of the principal.
  • Of public school principals who remained at the same school during the 2016–17 school year, 43 percent planned to remain a principal as long as they were able, 20 percent were undecided at that time, 19 percent planned to remain until eligible for retirement benefits from their job, and 11 percent planned to remain until a more desirable job opportunity became available.
  • Of 2015–16 public school principals who reported that they had a major influence on evaluating teachers, 82 percent remained at the same school during the following school year, 10 percent left the profession, and 6 percent moved to a different school in 2016–17.

To view the full report, please visit