Supervisors Need Support, Too

Coaching principals effectively takes time and skills

By James G. Martin
June 2017
Vol. 38 No. 3
In recent years, there has been an increasing focus on professional learning structures for teaching and finding ways to embed this learning into the daily work of teachers. This is premised on the understanding that one-shot professional development yields little transfer or change of practice to ultimately impact student learning. But how has this shift from professional development to professional learning filtered into the world of school leadership? I would contend that the reach has been limited and that when districts are juggling limited resources, they rarely prioritize the professional learning needs of school-based administrators (principals and assistant principals). This article is not meant to be a research study. It is one person’s reflection on two years spent at the district office as a principal

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James G. Martin

James G. Martin ( is principal of Riley Elementary School, a turnaround school in the Salt Lake City School District in Utah.


Corcoran, A., Casserly, M., Price-Baugh, R., Walston, D., Hall, R., & Simon, C. (2013). Rethinking leadership: The changing role of principal supervisors. New York, NY: The Wallace Foundation.

Council of Chief State School Officers. (2015). Model Principal Supervisor Professional Standards 2015. Washington, DC: Author.

The University of Florida Lastinger Center for Learning, Learning Forward, & Public Impact. (2016). Coaching for impact: Six pillars to create coaching roles that achieve their potential to improve teaching and learning. Available at

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