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Assistant Principal Advancement to the Principalship:

A Guide for School Districts

​​This guide can help school districts that want to examine and improve how they prepare assistant principals for the principal’s job. ​
June 2023
Black woman, standing in front of a table speaking, another white woman sitting and looking at the woman speaking
  • Author(s)
  • Tiara Booker-Dwyer, Daniel K. Aladjem, Kathleen Fletcher, and Brian Eyer
  • Publisher(s)
  • Policy Studies Associates, Inc.
Page Count 37 pages


How We Did This

This guide draws from research in three areas:

▪ Forecasting principal vacancies

▪ Identifying assistant principals for the principalship 

▪ Putting in place professional learning to prepare these assistant principals for the principalship. 

It also based on input from officials in a diverse set of school districts.

This guide can help school districts examine and improve how they can tap assistant principals (APs) to fill the principal’s job.

It describes steps in developing a strong approach to advancing APs to the principalship. The first one is forming a team to examine current district AP promotion practices. Next: coming up with a plan to fill gaps in the district’s current practices.

The guide also breaks down the work for the team into three components. They are: 

  • Forecasting principal vacancies
  • Identifying assistant principals who have significant potential to fill the principal post
  • Preparing APs for the job.

For each, the guide describes the kind of data the team needs to make informed decisions.

The publication is one of a set of Wallace-commissioned guides in the Principal Pipeline Toolkit. Other topics in the series are improving pipelines, financing pipelines, and sustaining pipelines.  

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