For many of today’s school principals, a day at the oἀce includes the responsibilities of chief executive officer, human resources coordinator, instruc-tional leader, disciplinarian, and more. A staḀ meeting to review assessment results might give way to an unexpected visit from an angry community member or a request from the district office to revise the school budget.
A nationwide trend toward output-based accountability, most notably through the federal No Child Left Behind Act, has increased the monitor-ing and consequences of school-level performance. School leaders are asked to perform increasingly challenging jobs under increasingly intense pressure.
As the job of the principal grows more complex and demanding, so, too, grows the importance of hiring, developing, and retaining outstanding principals. Recruitment efforts and incentives for entry must be strong enough to attract high-potential candidates. Leadership training and professional development programs must adequately prepare these individuals for their work. And the job itself must be rewarding and sustainable so that strong principals remain in the profession.