Instructional Leadership in Action

Principals as Instructional Leaders

by Stephen Fink on Apr 7, 2014

Stephen Fink (left) is executive director of the University of Washington’s Center for Educational Leadership. Max Silverman is the center’s associate director.

Increased accountability and scrutiny for school districts across the county has put renewed focus on an old problem: the persistent achievement gap dividing students along the lines of race, class, language and disability.

It's widely understood that principals play a pivotal role in the improvement of teaching and learning. But only few districts offer the right tools and support they need to succeed. Instead, principals often struggle with a lack of coordinated professional development, not enough time to work with teachers on instructional improvement, and a missing consensus on what the day-to-day work of a principal focused on teaching practice should look like.

Through the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Center for Educational Leadership (CEL) has been working with more than 15 school districts and charter management organizations from across the country to develop a principal support framework. Organized into three action areas, this framework - when taken in total and well executed - should create dramatic improvements in a principal’s instructional leadership practice.

Read more at AASA's School Administrator


Download the Principal Support Framework

Topics: School Leadership, District Leadership

About the author: Stephen Fink

Dr. Stephen Fink is affiliate professor of educational leadership and policy studies in the University of Washington College of Education. He served as the founding executive director of the University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership (CEL) from 2001 to 2018. Dr. Fink is co-author of Leading for Instructional Improvement: How Successful Leaders Develop Teaching and Learning Expertise.

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