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. If only a fraction of those leaders used their talents in education, we could increase the supply of school turnaround leaders significantly. This report, prepared by Public Impact for the University of Virginia’s Partnership for Leaders in Education, explores lessons about when and how organizations in other sectors import leaders—including how they tempt people away, train them, and foster their success—to inform efforts by state and local leaders to import talent for failing schools.
Public Impact