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Enhancing Principals’ Skills through Sustainable Mentoring Programs

Learn how mentoring programs should be designed and operated in order to meet the most pressing needs of school leaders. Reports on successful reforming of schools point boldly at the importance of a principal’s remaining with a school for five consecutive years. Principal stability, however, has been declining. Recently collected data as well as interviews from the field illustrate the usefulness of mentoring programs for principals, particularly those early in their careers. Providing support for a principal translates into providing support for the school and the efforts being made by all stakeholders to improve that school. Among the challenges that must be dealt with are the resources of money and time. These important issues will be discussed along with methods for designing and evaluating a mentor program.


Key Points

  • Principal mentoring has become a requirement in roughly half the states.

  • Mentored principals form clearer mission, develop an instructional focus and increase their use of collaboration.

  • Top characteristics that distinguish Mentoring Programs from traditional development will be identified.



Christine Mason with NAESP Principal Mentor Leaders


Dr. Lynn Scott is a leadership development consultant who has worked since 2001 on a principal leadership development initiative for the Wallace Foundation, the New York City Leadership Academy and the National Association for Elementary School Principals (NAESP). His association with the Wallace Foundation led to numerous contributions to the foundation’s creation and support of school leadership initiatives. Dr. Scott is one of the co-developers of the Leadership Performance Planning Worksheet (LPPW) and has worked with NYCLA on a wide variety of national level principal leadership development and leader coach training initiatives. His work with NAESP has centered on designing approaches to enhance the mentoring support provided to early career principals and as a speaker on leadership development at NAESP conventions. Dr. Scott has also conducted policy research for the RAND corporation, served as an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University, and served as a faculty member at the National Defense University and Air Force Academy.

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