This paper examines the attributes and career paths of New York States principals. We believe a better understanding of the attributes and career paths of principals and how these have changed over time, are the foundation for additional analysis that will inform policies for the recruitment and retention of effective school leaders. We find that many of the commonly held beliefs about principals are supported by a systematic examination of the data. In many of these cases, going beyond a surface description reveals dynamics that are little understood but have important policy implications. In other cases, we find that some widely held beliefs about principals are more myth than fact. These, too, result in implications for policy.