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States Can Play a Role in Building Principal Pipelines

Episode 5: This episode explores why Tennessee is placing a big bet on pipelines—and how it is working so far.
March 14, 2018
2 black male instructors in suits, working with 2 mixed race boys who are using laptops in an office.
Host & Guests

Host: Lucas Held, Director of Communications for The Wallace Foundation


  • Paul Fleming, Assistant Commissioner, Teachers and Leaders Division, Tennessee Department of Education

Paul Fleming is leading a major effort in Tennessee to build principal pipelines statewide, using an optional 3 percent set-aside permitted under the Every Student Succeeds Act. Tennessee is one of a few states in the nation to undertake a comprehensive approach to developing principal pipelines. The state intends to produce enough effective school leaders to fill two-thirds of the state’s annual principal openings. Here, he discusses why Tennessee is making principals a top priority and the changes they’ve instituted across the state.


We know leadership training has to change to help principals think differently around equity, to help them think about shared leadership and building the capacity of their teachers and also how to help give better feedback to teachers as well. It gets back to this idea of how do we do that at scale statewide as opposed to doing that for a district or for a select group?

— Paul Fleming

About the Series

The Principal Pipeline Podcast features principals, district and state leaders, and university officials who have developed strong principal pipelines and are eager to share their lessons learned with the broader field.

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