Stop the churn: how districts can support principals to increase their retention

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Katrina Watson McEllen (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Jessica Weiler

Abstract: Public school districts in the United States are struggling to retain principals. Principals leave schools for a variety of reasons related to the following: quality of life, pressures related to legislation and accountability, organizational structures, preparedness for the role, and leadership capacity. Clark County Schools, a rural school district in western North Carolina, has experienced principal turnover rates typically higher than the state average over the past ten years. In an effort to increase principal retention, the school district implemented a research-informed, principal leadership academy designed to increase principal support through mentoring, a professional learning network, and differentiated professional development. The goal of the principal leadership academy was to increase principals’ sense of self-efficacy, connectedness, job satisfaction, and leadership performance in order to reduce principal turnover and increase stability within schools; ultimately increasing student and teacher performance. Improvement science was utilized throughout implementation to help leaders plan, monitor, and inform the improvement process. Qualitative and quantitative methodologies were used to measure whether goals were achieved and to provide data for an analysis of impact. While initial results did not meet the goals set for increased self-efficacy, connectedness, job satisfaction, and leadership performance, the school district discusses lessons learned and provides recommendations for other districts considering implementation of a principal leadership academy.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
mentoring, principal retention, principal turnover, professional learning network
School principals -- North Carolina -- Case studies
School principals -- Job satisfaction -- North Carolina -- Case studies
Rural schools -- North Carolina -- Administration -- Case studies
Educational leadership -- North Carolina -- Case studies

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