Every line of inquiry on the role of the principal tells us that the role needs an overhaul. Schools are dealing with historic educational disruption associated with the pandemic. Young people face record levels of anxiety and depression, unsustainably high income inequality, a painful reckoning with systemic racism, and a declining commitment to democracy. If school systems are to meet the challenge of this historic moment, they must articulate a new, rich vision that imbues students with a sense of responsible citizenship, prepares them for the world of work, and helps them develop a healthy sense of self. This vision for schooling calls for a shift in what we ask of schools, and that shift starts in the principal’s office.
Rethinking the Role of the Principal offers actions that education leaders can take for the role of the principal and district systems to make the role more impactful and sustainable, starting with alignment to a vision and research for school leadership to better serve students, schools, and society.