The results are in

Principal pipelines make a difference

By Frederick Brown
June 2019
Vol. 40, No. 3
Intentional principal pipelines are feasible, affordable, and benefit districts, schools, and students in tangible ways. That’s the key takeaway from the results of The Wallace Foundation’s six-year Principal Pipeline Initiative, an effort to help districts strengthen and make more systemic principal preparation, hiring, development, evaluation, and ongoing professional learning. Intentional #PrincipalPipelines are feasible, affordable, and benefit districts, schools, and students in tangible ways. @WallaceFdn #LearnFwdTLP Click To Tweet Although it may be hard to imagine now, this was not a forgone conclusion. Those of us who have been engaged with The Wallace Foundation or school leadership for the last decade recognize that this was the result of many years of work by educators and researchers alike. In the mid- to late 2000s, I was a

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Frederick Brown

Frederick Brown is deputy executive director of Learning Forward.

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The final report of the Principal Pipeline Initiative, along with previous reports, podcasts, and additional resources, can be found at:

Districts that participated in the principal pipeline initiative

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, North Carolina
Denver Public Schools, Colorado
Gwinnett County Public Schools, Georgia
Hillsborough County Public Schools, Florida
New York City Department of Education, New York
Prince George’s County Public Schools, Maryland


Béteille, T., Kalogrides, D., & Loeb, S. (2011, July). Stepping stones: Principal career paths and school outcomes. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.

Darling-Hammond, L., LaPointe, M., Meyerson, D., & Orr, M. (2007). Preparing school leaders for a changing world: Executive summary. Stanford, CA: Stanford University, Stanford Educational Leadership Institute.

Gates, S.M., Baird, M.D., Master, B.K., & Chavez-Herrerias, E.R. (2019). Principal pipelines: A feasible, affordable, and effective way for districts to improve schools. Santa Monica, CA: The RAND Corporation.

Learning Forward. (2011). Standards for Professional Learning. Oxford, OH: Author.

Leithwood, K., Louis, K.S., Anderson, S., & Wahlstrom, K. (2004). How leadership influences student learning. New York, NY: The Wallace Foundation.

National Center for Education Statistics. (n.d.). Schools and staffing survey 2012-2013. Washington, DC: Author. Available at

School Leaders Network (2014). Churn: The high cost of principal turnover. Hinsdale, MA: Author. Available at

Turnbull, B.J., Anderson, L.M Riley, D.L., MacFarlane, J.R., & Aladjem, D.K. (2016, October). The principal pipeline: Initiative in action. Washington, DC: Policy Studies Associates.

Wahlstrom, K., Louis, K.S., Leithwood, K., & Anderson, S. (2010). Learning from leadership: Investigating the links to improved student learning. New York, NY: The Wallace Foundation.

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.

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