How can we support leaders of color?

By Frederick Brown
Categories: Career pathways, Equity, Leadership, Research, School leadership, System leadership
April 2021
As we at Learning Forward continue to deepen our equity work, I have been reflecting on a troubling pattern I’ve seen throughout my career: Leaders of color, especially male leaders of color, are vastly underrepresented in schools and districts, even in systems with high percentages of students of color. When I was a school principal in the 1990s, I was the only male principal of color in the district. Later, when I was a senior program officer for The Wallace Foundation, one of the superintendents I supported, an African American man, told me he was struggling and hoping to find peers to connect with, but neither he nor I were very successful in making connections. With little support to be found, he left the district

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Seven domains of principal pipelines

  • Leader standards.
  • High-quality preservice principal preparation.
  • Selective hiring and placement of principals.
  • On-the-job evaluation and support.
  • Principal supervisors.
  • Leader tracking systems.
  • Systems and accountability.

To learn more, see

Image for aesthetic effect only - Brown-frederick-200x250-1
President | CEO at Learning Forward | + posts

Frederick Brown is Learning Forward’s president | CEO. Fred is an education visionary who knows firsthand that our nation’s schools need transformational change if we are to meet the challenges of the next decades. Fred advocates that every child deserves to reach their highest potential and every educator must have the opportunity to participate in exemplary, ongoing, professional learning programs to provide students the skills needed to meet their unique needs.

Supporting educators at all levels and improving student achievement are through lines of Fred's career. An elementary school teacher, a middle school assistant principal, and school principal, Fred saw firsthand the impact high-leverage instructional practices and school culture have on school success.

Fred is a frequent speaker on leadership and building high-quality learning in schools. He has co-authored two books that have made significant contributions to the field of education, demonstrating how a comprehensive approach to professional learning can be achieved so that everyone in a system is a learner, and how principals apply a learning lens to their many critical responsibilities to create a productive climate for learning and collaboration. "Becoming a Learning System" and "The Learning Principal -- Becoming a Learning Leader"  are time-tested Learning Forward resources for schools and leaders.

Categories: Career pathways, Equity, Leadership, Research, School leadership, System leadership

The Learning Professional

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