2. Stepping-stone roles fail to develop necessary leadership skills.

According to the survey, most school systems lack guiding standards that define stepping-stone roles and ensure that they include meaningful leadership responsibilities.

In the systems studied, these roles were often centrally-funded but defined across schools haphazardly without a commonly understood set of requirements.

75 percent of the teacher-leaders surveyed said they “don’t feel accountable for the performance of the teachers they supervise” and 56 percent said “they aren’t responsible for providing instructional coaching.” More than 80 percent of teacher-leaders had a full teaching schedule with no time allotted for leadership responsibilities.

3. Aspiring leaders receive inadequate coaching and training on key skills.

Less than half of the Aps and other full-time leaders in the survey said they receive frequent coaching and feedback on their performance from their principals.

“For our APs we literally do nothing,” said an HR official at one large district. “We put them in the role and we just expect them to do things like evaluate teachers. Obviously, this is something we want to address.”

Much of the problems, notes the report, stems from the fact that both school leaders and systems leaders typically have much “broader spans of control” than managers in other organizations.

In other words, they’re swamped.

4.  Leadership roles are not managed systematically as a talent pipeline.

Decisions for leadership roles are based on today’s school-level considerations, reveals the report, rather than the talent development needs of the broader system.

“Until very recently, the principals hired whomever they wanted and they don’t always select on the right criteria,” said a senior administrator at one large district. “Often, they’ll look for the person who can just keep things off the principal’s plate…A more formal process is needed with a clear pathway to leadership for those that are interested.”

The report notes that relying on this type of informal system based on short-term priorities and a “fragmented building-by-building perspective leads to stagnation: Too many stepping-stone roles are filled by educators with little interest in leadership.”

(Next page: Recommendations)

Meris Stansbury

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