Coaching principals is a calling and a commitment

By Kay Psencik
October 2019
Vol. 40, No. 5
Principals are smart, accomplished leaders. They want their students to be successful and have a deep moral internal drive to educate all students to high standards. But principals have complex jobs that get more complex every year. In today’s environment, workforce skills, community involvement skills, communication skills, and technology skills have become essential alongside high levels of mathematics understanding and other aspects of instructional leadership. With these many demands, principals need high-quality support and professional learning communities just like teachers but have far less access to them. Professional learning for principals still tends to be episodic and lack coherence (Southern Regional Education Board, 2010; Louis, Leithwood, Wahlstrom, & Anderson, 2010). Principal coaching is an important approach for changing that pattern. Coaching is strategic, ongoing, and

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Kay Psencik

Kay Psencik ( is a senior consultant at Learning Forward.


Louis, K.S., Leithwood, K., Wahlstrom, K., & Anderson, S. (2010). Investigating the links to improved student learning: Final report of research findings. New York, NY: The Wallace Foundation.

National Policy Board for Educational Administration. (2015). Professional Standards for Educational Leaders. Reston, VA: Author.

Psencik, K. (2011). The coach’s craft. Oxford, OH: Learning Forward.

Southern Regional Education Board. (2010, August). The three essentials: Improving schools requires district vision, district and state support, and principal leadership. Atlanta, GA: Author.

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Kay Psencik is a senior consultant for Learning Forward and served in Texas public schools for more than 30 years. She supports school districts and other educational organizations across the nation in efforts to transform their organizations by facilitating and coaching principals to lead high-performing schools.

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