$150M for school leaders – Shortage expected soon

The Wallace-Reader’s Digest Funds will spend up to $150 million over the next five years to address the impending shortage of high school principals and superintendents, USA Today reported on June 26.

The group has focused on teacher quality in the past, but has turned to its current project out of a belief that good leadership is necessary for school renewal, president M. Christine DeVita told USA Today.

Among its grants, the organization will give $3.9 million to the University of Pittsburgh to develop the instructional expertise of principals, $2.3 million to the Center on Reinventing Public Education in Seattle, to study the causes of the shortage, and $1.3 million to the Aspiring Principals Program of the Big Picture Co. in Providence, to develop a program for recruiting and preparing principals.

The American Association of School Administrators and other groups predict a shortage of school leaders in the near future.

Roughly half the nation’s principals and superintendents are over 50 and will retire in the next five years, officials say. The problem is compounded by poor retention rates in urban areas.

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