Event Details


School principals are the catalyst for successful and sustainable school improvement efforts. Principals interpret and communicate federal, state and district policies and regulations to teachers, students and the community. They define and reinforce a school ethos or climate in support of the achievement of these objectives. Effective principals contribute to teacher development, productivity and retention, positively influencing student achievement.

Yet, national reports and research indicate a high turnover and instability of school principals, weakening the benefit sustained school leadership provides for successful implementation of educational programs. This public talk explores the major reasons for principal mobility and departure in the United States, identifying individual level, school, district and workplace condition factors that cause leadership instability. The public talk includes implications for policies contributing to school leadership retention, particularly in hard-to-staff, urban districts and schools (such as the District of Columbia) where sustained school leadership is proven to make the most impact in “school turnaround” efforts and in closing the achievement gap of students from traditionally marginalized groups.

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Dr. Abebayehu (Abe) Tekleselassie is Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the George Washington University. His research interests include resiliency and the development of protective factors among at-risk students; job satisfaction and mobility patterns of school administrators; educational reform and policy in the international context; and women and minorities in educational leadership. In 2014-15, Dr. Tekleselassie was a US Fulbright Scholar to Ethiopia, where he conducted research on school leadership development for school renewal; closing the research, policy, and practice gap in higher education in Ethiopia; and understanding the professional trajectories of successful women educational leaders. Dr. Tekleselassie served as member of examiners for DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education and reviewed multiple administrator and teacher preparation programs as part of CAPE/NCATE Accreditation Team.