Principals are Leaving Their Jobs at an Accelerating Rate
A new report by Penn State’s Center for Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis shows that nearly 15.4% of principals left Pennsylvania schools between 2021-2022 and 2022-2023.
“The pandemic played a huge role in principal turnover in Pennsylvania,” said Ed Fuller, education professor at Penn State University and author of the report.
“Most principals do not last at the same school for more than four years,” Fuller said. “For a lot of high schools, when students come in as a freshman, they’ll have a different principal when they graduate in four years."
“For most kids coming into kindergarten, they’ll have a different elementary principal when they finish elementary school,” he said. “It has a negative effect on teachers and students because there is no continuity in schools."
We thought it would be interesting to see how WCASD compares to the state average of 15.4% of principals leaving their positions between 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years.
WCASD is losing principals at a rate of 22%, far higher than the state average.
The district employs 32 principals in total (see page 53.) 7 have retired or resigned (see board meeting agendas for the following dates) between 2021-2023: 4/25/22, 5/25/22, 11/28/22, 2/27/23, 4/24/23, and 6/26/23 (2 resignations).
The article notes that, “One thing that will help with principal attrition is an increase in pay, but it also depends on how much they like their job and the working conditions of their job,” Fuller said. “Support from the superintendent and the central office will also increase longevity."
This is not surprising, given that teachers gave the district an F on communication. The culture of a district is established at the top and trickles down through supervisors, to principals, to classroom teachers.
Given that leadership at the top sets the tone for the entire district, and given the fact that our district is searching for a new superintendent, it is imperative that board chooses a candidate who has the experience and tenacity required to begin to change the culture and direction of the district.