Press | New Report Breaks Down How Great Principals Build and Lead Great Teams

New York, NY– New Leaders is excited to release their latest original publication: Playmakers: How Great Principals Build and Lead Great Teams of Teachers.

Recent studies have shown that 96% of teachers say that they would stay teaching if they had a strong principal.  Based on our 12 years of experience recruiting and developing 900 principals, we have strong evidence to confirm the impact a strong principal has on attracting, retaining and developing the best teachers.

The research conducted to date on school leadership has focused on siloed actions of principals.  Playmakers is the first in-depth study to look at principal actions and teacher effectiveness across these siloes.  Furthermore, Playmakers examines these actions across school types and contexts, examining the differences between principals that lead their schools to dramatic student achievement gains of 20 percentage points or more on standardized assessments in a single year in comparison to those that lead schools to flat or incremental gains.

In Playmakers, 200 successful schools were studied to identify the day-to-day actions the strongest principals take to ensure great teaching and dramatic gains in academic outcomes for their students.

The core finding is that great principals amplified great teaching by working in and seamlessly integrating three intersecting areas:

1. Developing teachers.
2. Managing talent.
3. Creating a great place to work.

What’s important to note is that no two principals followed the same path of actions.  Though all principals worked within these three intersecting areas, we discovered that each school leader needed to assess their school community’s need and prioritize among these actions based on their specific context.

This is no different from a great CEO or a great coach – the best leaders don’t tell their people exactly how to get every aspect of the job done.  They focus on the right outcomes and choose the path and strategies that makes the most sense for who they have on the team.

Playmakers follows in the New Leaders tradition of releasing impactful reports based on the learning gleaned from our strongest school leaders and advancing related policy recommendations to support  and expand leadership capable of transforming all our urban public schools.

Previous research is clear that the best school leaders have an amplified impact on student achievement.  Playmakers lays out the core actions taken by the strongest school leaders to achieve that magnified impact.  These findings have implications on local, state, and national policies on school leadership which New Leaders believes must be at the forefront of education reform conversations in the coming years.