The Role of Assistant Principals: Evidence and Insights for Advancing School Leadership
The Wallace Foundation
- Assistant principals have become more prevalent over the past 25 years.
- Educators of color and women face barriers to advancement on the leadership pathway.
- Assistant principals could promote improved school climate and student outcomes.
- The relationship between assistant principal experience and future principal performance is mixed.
Over the past 25 years, the number of assistant principals has been steadily increasing, as has the number of principals with prior experience as an assistant principal. However, the knowledge base on assistant principals has not grown in parallel with their increased presence in schools. To help policymakers, practitioners, and researchers better understand the assistant principal role and leverage it to promote equity and school effectiveness, The Wallace Foundation commissioned a synthesis of research on assistant principals. In this report, researchers from Vanderbilt University and Mathematica synthesized research on assistant principals over the past 20 years and analyzed national and state data to fill gaps in the research and study trends.