Shooting for Stars: Cross-Sector Lessons for Retaining High-Performing Educators

This report by Public Impact identifies four common strategies employed by other sectors to disproportionately retain high performers and discusses how committed education leaders could begin applying these strategies right now. The four key strategies organizations successfully use to boost high-performer retention are as follows:

Closing the Talent Gap

McKinsey draws on its experience of working with school systems in more than 50 countries to produce a report that examines the practice of the top-performing school systems in the world and examines how these countries make recruiting the “top third+” students of their academic cohort a priority, and in return, develop some of the most effective teachers.

Importing Leaders for School Turnarounds: Lessons and Opportunities

One of the biggest challenges in education today is identifying talented candidates to successfully lead turnarounds of persistently low-achieving schools. Evidence suggests that the traditional principal pool is already stretched to capacity and cannot supply enough leaders to fix failing schools. But potentially thousands of leaders capable of managing successful turnarounds work outside education, in nonprofit and health organizations, the military, and the private sector.

Using Competencies to Improve School Turnaround Principal Success

This report, produced by Public Impact for the University of Virginia’s School Turnaround Specialist Program, describes how using competencies that predict performance can improve turnaround principal selection, evaluation, and development. Although the term “competency” often describes any work-related skill, in this context competencies are the underlying motives and habits—patterns of thinking, feeling, acting, and speaking—that cause a person to be successful in a specific job or role.

Districts Matter: Cultivating the Principals Urban Schools Need

School districts play a primary role in helping principals maximize their responsibilities of improving teaching and learning. This report, published by the Wallace Foundation, emphasizes two key tasks that school districts need to do to best develop and cultivate the most highly qualified principals. Evidence finds that schools districts need to build a large corps of well-qualified candidates and also need to support leaders on the job. The report details how doing so can lead to more successful outcomes. 

Beyond the Pipeline: Getting the Principals We Need, Where They Are Needed Most

This policy brief by the Wallace Foundation examines three independent research studies to determine the causes of the current problems in the labor market for principals. Findings suggests that policies and practices designed solely to add more certified candidates to the job pipeline miss the central challenges underlying the difficulty that districts face in attracting and retaining high-quality leaders. Challenges include a lack of incentive to draw quality leaders to the worst schools, regulatory issues, and counterproductive hiring practices.

Competencies for Turnaround Success Series

The resources in Public Impact’s Competencies for Turnaround Success series are designed to help district officials identify and hire the right leaders and teachers for this demanding role. These resources clarify the most critical competencies—or patterns of thinking, feeling, speaking, and acting—that enable people to be successful in attempts to transform schools from failure to excellence quickly and dramatically. The series includes two guides that describe the most critical turnaround competencies.

From Bystander to Ally: Transforming the District Human Resources Department

Human resources (HR) departments play an important role in the education sector, as they determine crucial decisions by aiding in processes such as hiring qualified teacher candidates or aiding in finding a principal who meets a school’s particular needs. This report, by the Wallace Foundation, highlights the crucial role that HR departments play and discusses how school districts are rethinking the design of HR departments, focusing on Houston, Milwaukee, and San Diego. The report identifies key issues that will help districts make their HR office more efficient and effective.

Preparing for Growth: Human Capital Innovations in Charter Public Schools

Many have suggested that charter schools can be key agents in leading dramatic improvements in public education. However, the small number of highly successful charter schools and charter management organizations (CMOs) currently in operation throughout the country will have to grow much faster to meet this challenge. To achieve that growth, schools also will need a strong supply of great teachers and leaders.

Expanding the Pipeline of Teachers and Principals in Urban Public Schools: Design Principles and Conditions for Success

Meeting the significant demand for outstanding teachers and principals is a persistent challenge in many urban school systems. This report, prepared by Public Impact for the Cleveland Foundation and the George Gund Foundation, analyzes common themes among 18 promising programs to attract and prepare teachers and principals for success in urban school systems.


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