The Right Match: A Strong Principal in Every Public School

Even as Chicago fights to retain principals long enough to make student learning and school culture gains more permanent, we must recognize that some principal attrition is inevitable. More than 70,000 students started the 2016–17 school year with a new principal, and at least 60 schools will need a new principal each year for the foreseeable future.2 The stakes are high: No great public school exists without great leadership.3 In fact, variation in principal quality accounts for about 25 percent of a school’s total impact on student learning.4 Yet, more than four out of every 10 public school principals in Chicago leave before they begin their fifth year.5 To keep great principals, we have to make the right match from the start. How can we help schools hire the right principal? 1. Anticipate leadership needs. 2. Cultivate talent to meet needs. 3. Make the right match. Read the full report to learn more about these strategies, who makes hiring decisions in Chicago, and the potential paths to the principalship in Chicago.

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