The principal's coach

By Marco A. Nava, Ileana M. Dávalos and Maura Crossin
April 2020
Vol 41, No. 2
As an administrator of instruction, one of Natividad Rozsa’s primary responsibilities is to coach principals in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Rozsa’s goal is to shift the focus of coaching conversations from operations and compliance to problem-solving and capacity building, always focusing on student learning. Her approach scaffolds principals so they can find their own solutions to persistent issues and problems — and also models for principals what effective coaching looks like and how they can provide it for their staff. The administrators Rozsa coaches each work on a problem of practice for three years. “I facilitate and ask plenty of questions to help them reflect on the identified problem of practice,” she says. This allows them to own the improvement process, she

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Marco A. Nava, Ileana M. Dávalos, Maura Crossin, and colleagues

All authors are employed by the Los Angeles Unified School District. Marco A. Nava ( is administrator of professional learning and leadership development. Ileana M. Dávalos ( is deputy chief human resources officer. Maura Crossin (, Ana Escobedo (, Delia Estrada (, Heather Lower Lowe (, April Ramos-Olona (, Jose Rodriguez (, and Maria Sotomayor ( are administrative coordinators.

Los Angeles Administrative Services Credential

LAASC is a two-year induction program focused on job-embedded, real-life learning combined with coach-based professional development (Commission on Teacher Credentialing, 2018) for principals and new administrators.

The induction experience includes 60 to 90 hours of professional learning centered on coaching, reflection, professional development, and assessment. Induction is anchored on six professional learning standards that describe critical areas of leadership that support and guide administrators into sustainable, effective practice.

The shift places a heavy emphasis on individualized coaching, 40 of the 60 hours, with the goal of developing leadership competency. The program seeks to spur much-needed systemic change throughout the district’s schools by coaching them to think systemically and act strategically to empower leadership teams to impact instructional quality and student achievement.

Coaches are intentional about data collection for program improvement. Data monitoring is critical to accomplish the program’s goal of empowering educators to be courageous and transformational leaders. Since the program’s start in 2015, 366 participants have cleared their administrative services credential coursework with support from nine coaches.

Of the 366 participants, 243 have been school site administrators, 123 have been administrators at central offices and local districts, and 32 participants have successfully been promoted into a school administrative leadership position.

The most current data from the survey candidates complete at the end of their first year in the program reports that 94.6% of participants found their coach had been instrumental to their growth as a leader, and 100% said their coach guided them to find their own solutions.


Commission on Teacher Credentialing. (2018, July). Administrative Services Credential Program Standards.

Fullan, M. & Quinn, J. (2015). Coherence: The right drivers in action for schools, districts, and systems. Corwin Press.

Los Angeles Unified School District. (2015). Coaching cycle and competencies rubric.

Los Angeles Unified School District. (2019). School Leadership Framework.

Sinek, S. (2009). Start with why: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action. Penguin.

Vella, J. (2016). The power of dialogue in adult learning. Reflective Practice: Formation and Supervision in Ministry, 36, 95-101.

The Learning Professional

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