Research and Policy Report

States as Leaders, Followers, and Partners: Lessons from the ESSA Leadership Learning Community and the University Principal Preparation Initiative

Paul Manna
November 2022 | The Wallace Foundation

This report discusses two different efforts by The Wallace Foundation to encourage states to take a more active role in shaping high-quality school principals. In this set of reflections on research about those endeavors, political scientist Paul Manna asks, “What does recent evidence show about how states can foster conditions that identify new principals and enable them and their veteran colleagues to thrive in ways that support teaching and learning?”​ He answers by finding a number of common themes in the efforts. One is that states can help build partnerships among a range of organizations (from school districts and community groups to state agencies and professional associations) to solve common problems in education. Such partnerships, he writes, “are a source of energy, resources, and fresh ideas for improving principal effectiveness” and can lead to “creative problem-solving that can enhance the likelihood of principal initiatives succeeding.”