Policy Brief

The Impact of Strong District Leadership in Early Childhood: Lessons From California

Sarah Jackson
September 2023 | New America

In this policy brief from New America, the author reports on how district-level leadership; principal leadership; leadership from teachers, parents, and child care providers; and leadership from local early childhood experts helped inform and guide change on behalf of young children in three California communities. The successful leadership models employed most were collaborative and distributed. Leaders supported change by participating in community collaborations, trusting educators, and sharing responsibilities with early childhood education experts inside and outside of their school districts. Work from these communities shows that buy-in from superintendents and district-level leadership is a critical element in successfully increasing a district’s capacity for early childhood reform, but so is leadership from the classroom and community.