In light of the difficulty many districts face finding quality principal candidates, this article explores an informal recruitment mechanism of teachers to become principals, which the authors call tapping. The authors assess the extent to which current teachers are being approached by school leaders to consider leadership and whether this tapping prompts these teachers to consider pursuing leadership positions.
Research Design: This study uses survey and administrative data on teachers and principals from the Miami-Dade County Public Schools from the 2007–2008 school year. The authors describe the extent to which principals tap teachers to become school leaders. They use multiple regression with and without school fixed effects to model which teachers are most likely to be tapped and which principals are most likely to tap teachers. They also estimate the extent to which tapping is effective at motivating teachers to become school leaders.
Findings: A vast majority of principals report having been tapped by their own principal when they were teachers. The authors find that principals tend to tap teachers who feel better equipped to take on the principalship and who have more school-level leadership experience, but they also disproportionately tap teachers who are male and share their ethnicity. Conclusions: The findings provide evidence that principals are capable of effectively identifying and encouraging teachers with strong leadership potential to enter the principal pipeline, although additional training and a succession management plan may help ensure that teachers are selected based on clear leadership competencies.