Principals Need Prep, Too

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By Bryant O. Best, School Leadership Program Associate, CCSSO

CCSSO is committed to helping state education agencies (SEAs) elevate and support school leaders across the country. We believe that each student deserves strong school and district leadership. Furthermore, research shows that leadership is “second only to classroom instruction among school-related factors that affect learning in school”.

School principals play a vital role in our society. They are charged with a daunting number of responsibilities, everything from encouraging children to become the best version of themselves, to supporting teachers with resources and professional development, to engaging and sustaining positive relationships with parents and partner organizations, and so much more. All of these responsibilities beg the question:  how are principals prepared for this?

Unfortunately, as many as 89% of principals believe that their principal preparation program did not give them everything they needed to lead their learning village. Similarly, more than 1/3 of principal program representatives also felt as though their existing programs did not meet their graduates’ needs.

The Wallace Foundation is seeking to change that.

As a national philanthropy committed to improving school leadership (among other things), Wallace has invested $48.5M into a four-year project to help university principal preparation programs improve their efforts. This University Principal Preparation Initiative, or “UPPI”, has three main goals:

  1. Develop and implement high-quality courses of study and supportive organization conditions at universities where future principals receive their pre-service training;
  2. Foster strong collaborations between each university and its partner school districts; and
  3. Develop state policies about program accreditation and principal licensure to promote higher-quality training statewide.

The UPPI supports seven universities and their district or consortium partners. Each partnership also includes a state partner and a mentor program (listed below).


image of UPPI universities

The Wallace Foundation will support these seven institutions as they refine their principal preparation programs on behalf of school leaders and students across the country. On Tuesday, December 11th, several national education organizations, including CCSSO, will convene in New York City to discuss the progress of the UPPI and proposed next steps through 2022. CCSSO is proud to serve as a partner for Wallace in this very important work. For more information on the UPPI, please click here.

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