Ready to Lead: Designing Residencies for Better Principal Preparation

Ready to Lead report coverIn recent years, policymakers and funders have focused on educator effectiveness by emphasizing the classroom teacher, frequently overlooking the significant role that school leaders play in advancing instructional improvement, educational equity, and success for all students. Students, their families, and their teachers in the U.S. rely on nearly 90,000 school principals to ensure that every child learns in a safe, supportive classroom.

Principal residency is one innovative approach to improving principal preparation that has shown promise for ensuring new principals are ready to lead. Principal residencies immerse prospective leaders in ongoing school-based activities that allow them to practice and experience aspects of school leadership, with an emphasis on action, reflection, inquiry, and accountability.

Ready to Lead is for principal preparation faculty, school district administrators, charter management CEOs, and policymakers who are interested in designing residencies as part of a comprehensive principal preparation program. Ready to Lead does the following:

  • Provides clarity on the design and diversity of principal residency experiences
  • Introduces the Essential Elements for Principal Residencies as a set of key characteristics that inform the design of effective residency experiences
  • Discusses current research on principal residency that points to its promise for building future principals
  • Gives examples of residency programs drawn from across the United States
  • Asks provocative questions to support conversation among K-12 educators, university faculty and staff, nonprofit organizations, and communities that will help these stakeholders develop or advance residencies within their region’s educational leadership pipeline

Ready to Lead presents the collective expertise of educators engaged in building or conducting research on principal residency designs across the United States, and answers the call for greater clarity on principal residency design.