This study was designed to help the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation to better understand Hawai‘i’s principal pipeline. With this knowledge, we aim to improve the effectiveness of our school leadership grantmaking. The intent was to capture the voices of Complex Area Superintendents (CAS), whom we consider to be the primary drivers of principal placement and support. To supplement those voices, we also interviewed a cross-section of sitting principals. Thirteen of 15 CAS responded to our survey. Fifty principals were interviewed. We asked for clear statements of need: What do our principals need to be successful at raising student achievement and facilitating school growth? What barriers inhibit their ability to be effective leaders? What do CAS need to support their principals and to develop the next generation of leaders?
We found that:
- 50% of CASs were concerned about the quality of principal candidates
- 58% indicated that the principalship makes it difficult to attract candidates
- 25% of a CAS’s time, on average, is spent coaching principals
- 50% of CASs felt HIDOE’s preparation programs were strong
- 50% felt that HIDOE training was not rigorous and comprehensive enough
- 67% of CASs highlighted the importance of mentorship
- 73% of CASs recommended allowing mainland candidates apply for openings
In thinking about what we heard and reflecting on ways the Foundation might augment its existing investments in school leadership to best respond to the voices in the field, we identified four clusters of grantmaking opportunities that we will pursue in conjunction with HIDOE and other local organizations over the next three years. This Initiative for New School Leaders represents a new $2.1 million investment in Hawai‘i’s principal pipeline.