Trending Topic Research File: School Leadership
Trending Topic Research File: School Leadership
School Leadership

Trending Topic Research File

Ensuring that school leaders are being successfully trained, supported, and retained; given the tools they need to make a difference; and are being recruited from diverse backgrounds is crucial to school effectiveness, teacher performance, and student success.

The following compendium of open-access articles are inclusive of all substantive AERA journal content regarding school leadership published since 2017. This page will be updated as new articles are published. 

AERA Journal Articles

Note: Articles are listed below in reverse chronological order of publication. 

The Geography of Principal Internships in North Carolina
Timothy A. Drake, Kevin C. Bastian
AERA Open, January 2024
Researchers found that preparation program type is strongly related to the geography of internship placements, suggesting that differences in program structure may shape internship placements.

Developing a Research–Practice Partnership With Policy Intermediaries: An Examination of Collaboration With State Education Agency Leaders
Hayley Weddle
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, December 2023
This article explores state leaders’ experiences collaborating in an early-phase, national research-practice partnership focused on advancing multilingual learner equity.

Core Requirements, Structured Flexibility, and Local Judgment: Balancing Adherence and Adaptation in the Design and Implementation of District-Wide Professional Development
Julie Cohen, Arielle Boguslav, James Wyckoff, Veronica Katz, Katherine Sadowski, Emily A. Wiseman
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, December 2023
Researcher describe how the District of Columbia Public Schools implemented an ambitious PD program called LEAP. Aligned with best practices, LEAP consisted of weekly group learning in content-specific teams, followed by individualized coaching support, all guided by a district-provided professional learning curriculum.

“They Don't Feel Like This Is Their Place Anymore:” School Leaders’ Understanding of the Impacts of Gentrification on Schools
Terrance L. Green, Andrene Castro, Emily Germain, Jeremy Horne, Chloe Sikes, Joanna Sanchez
American Educational Research Journal, September 2023
Researchers found that school leaders understand gentrification's impacts on schools materially, epistemically, and affectively, and at the same time, these shifts complicate the work of school leaders.

Building School Data Equity, Infrastructure, and Capacity Through FAIR Data Standards: Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable
Alex J. Bowers, Yeonsoo Choi
Educational Researcher, June 2023
Researchers argue that making education data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR) is a matter of equity and central to equity-focused data reuse.

Principal and Teacher Shared Race and Gender Intersections: Teacher Turnover, Workplace Conditions, and Monetary Benefits
Samantha Viano, Luis A. Rodriguez, Seth B. Hunter
AERA Open, January 2023
Researchers found that  better discretionary workplace benefits were concentrated among Black teachers with Black principals, especially Black male teachers with Black male principals, who reported workplace supports almost half a standard deviation higher than did similar non-Black female teachers in their school.

Public-Sector Leadership and Philanthropy: The Case of Broad Superintendents
Thomas S. Dee, Susanna Loeb, Ying Shi
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, August 2022
Researchers found that Broad superintendents have had extensive reach, serving nearly 3 million students at their peak, and that, for districts that hired Broad trainees, Broad superintendents were 40% more likely to be Black than non-Broad superintendents, although they had significantly shorter tenures.

Community-Centered School Leadership: Radical Care and Aperturas During COVID-19
Leticia Alvarez Gutiérrez, Taeyeon Kim, Sonny Partola, Paul J. Kuttner, Amadou Niang, Alma Yangui, Laura Hernández, Gerardo R. López, Jennifer Mayer-Glenn
AERA Open, June 2022
Researchers present a close analysis of administrators’ perspectives and describe how our codesigned video methodology enabled participants to coconstruct new meanings of school-community relationships during the pandemic through a radical care framework.

Culturally Relevant Education as a Professional Responsibility
Hillary Parkhouse, Ejana Bennett, Toshna Pandey, Kristina Lee, Jacqueline Johnson Wilson
Educational Researcher, April 2022 
Researchers point to scientific, legal, and ethical arguments for why CRE should be considered a noncontroversial, evidence-based approach to education. They draw on insights from political psychology and critical Whiteness studies to argue that the opposition to CRE is unlikely to be overcome through the evidence they present. 

“What Counts” as Research? Comparing Policy Guidelines to the Evidence Education Leaders Report as Useful
Caitlin C. Farrell, William R. Penuel, Kristen Davidson
AERA Open, February 2022
Researchers found that while a small portion of sources named would qualify for the top three “tiers of evidence” of the Every Student Succeeds Act, those sources named as useful for program selection more frequently met these criteria.

A Call for Data on the Principal Pipeline
Frank Perrone, Michelle D. Young, Edward J. Fuller
Educational Researcher, February 2022
Researchers call for improved national and state-level data collection and access relevant to the principal pipeline. 

Leading Schools and Districts in Times of Crisis
Jason A. Grissom, Lara Condon
Educational Researcher, June 2021
This article synthesizes research spanning schools and other organizations, including those in the private sector, to describe a framework for understanding crises and crisis management in schools and districts and the key competences this literature suggests for successful navigation of crisis situations. 

Assistant Principal Mobility and Its Relationship With Principal Turnover
Brendan Bartanen, Laura K. Rogers, David S. Woo
Educational Researcher, February 2021
Researchers provide the first comprehensive analysis of assistant principal mobility, using administrative data from Tennessee and Missouri. 

Where Are the Leaders in Higher Education? Review of Kirp’s The College Dropout Scandal
Lawrence Abele
Educational Researcher, June 2020
Lawrence Abele provides a review for The College Dropout Scandal (2019) by David Kirp. 

Principal Quality and Student Attendance
Brendan Bartanen
Educational Researcher, January 2020
This study estimates principal value-added to student absences. Drawing on statewide data from Tennessee over a decade, researchers found that principal effects on student absences are comparable in magnitude to effects on student achievement. 

Understanding District Support for Leader Development and Success in the Accountability Era: A Review of the Literature Using Social-Cognitive Theories of Motivation
Timothy G. Ford, Alyson L. Lavigne, Ashlyn M. Fiegener, Shouqing Si
Review of Educational Research, January 2020
Researchers use extant social-cognitive theories of motivation to organize the research on district effectiveness in pursuit of the following question: How does the district as a key player in school/instructional improvement facilitate conditions under which school principals’ learning, development, and success are enhanced? 

The Effect of Principal Behaviors on Student, Teacher, and School Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Empirical Literature
David D. Liebowitz, Lorna Porter
Review of Educational Research, July 2019
Researchers reviewed the empirical literature from 51 studies of principal behaviors and student, teacher, and school outcomes and conducted a meta-analysis of these relationships. 

Special Education Teacher Attrition and Retention: A Review of the Literature
Bonnie Billingsley, Elizabeth Bettini
Review of Educational Research, July 2019
Researchers synthesized 30 studies from 2002 to 2017, examining factors associated with special educator attrition and retention, including (a) teacher preparation and qualifications, (b) school characteristics, (c) working conditions, and (d) teacher demographic and nonwork factors. 

Research on the Leadership of Black Women Principals: Implications for Black Students
Kofi Lomotey
Educational Researcher, June 2019
This study considers research on Black women principals for the period 1993 to 2017, using 57 research reports obtained from dissertations, journal articles, and a book chapter. 

The Impacts of Principal Turnover
Brendan Bartanen, Jason A. Grissom, Laura K. Rogers
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, June 2019
Researchers found that principal turnover also increases teacher turnover, but this does not explain the drop in student achievement. Replacement with an experienced successor can largely offset negative principal turnover effects.

A Bibliometric Review of Research on Educational Administration: Science Mapping the Literature, 1960 to 2018
Philip Hallinger, Jasna Kovačević
Review of Educational Research, February 2019
This systematic review used “science mapping” as a means of understanding the evolution of research in educational administration (EA). 

Does Cooperating Teachers’ Instructional Effectiveness Improve Preservice Teachers’ Future Performance?
Matthew Ronfeldt, Stacey L. Brockman, Shanyce L. Campbell
Educational Researcher, June 2018
Researchers found the first evidence, of which they are aware, that preservice teachers are more instructionally effective when they learn to teach with cooperating teachers who are more instructionally effective. 

Evaluating School Principals: Supervisor Ratings of Principal Practice and Principal Job Performance
Jason A. Grissom, Richard S. L. Blissett, Hajime Mitani
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, June 2018
Researchers found that supervisors’ ratings are internally consistent, relatively stable over time, and predictive of other performance measures, such as student achievement growth and teachers’ ratings of school leadership quality. However, raters fail to differentiate dimensions of principal practice, and ratings may be biased by factors, such as school poverty, outside the principal’s control.

Intersectionality and Educational Leadership: A Critical Review
Vonzell Agosto, Ericka Roland
Review of Research in Education, April 2018
Researchers explored intersectionality in the literature on K–12 educational leadership, seeking to understand how researchers have used intersectionality and what their findings or arguments reveal about the work of leading to reduce inequities in education. 

A Review of the Literature on Principal Turnover
Virginia Snodgrass Rangel
Review of Educational Research, November 2017
Researchers take stock of what the field has learned about the sources and consequences of principal turnover and to identify what gaps remain. 

Coaching for Coherence: How Instructional Coaches Lead Change in the Evaluation Era
Sarah L. Woulfin, Jessica G. Rigby
Educational Researcher, August 2017
Researchers argue that coaching can be aligned with teacher evaluation systems to work toward the effective implementation of instructional reforms, including Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. 

How School and District Leaders Access, Perceive, and Use Research
William R. Penuel, Derek C. Briggs, Kristen L. Davidson, Corinne Herlihy, David Sherer, Heather C. Hill, Caitlin Farrell, Anna-Ruth Allen
AERA Open, April 2017
Researchers found that school and district leaders alike reported frequent use of research use and generally positive attitudes toward research. Leaders reported accessing research primarily through their professional networks.

The Theoretical and Empirical Basis of Teacher Leadership: A Review of the Literature
Julianne A. Wenner, Todd Campbell
Review of Educational Research, February 2017
Researchers examined teacher leadership research completed since York-Barr and Duke published the seminal review on teacher leadership in 2004. 

Principal Licensure Exams and Future Job Performance: Evidence From the School Leaders Licensure Assessment
Jason A. Grissom, Hajime Mitani, Richard S. L. Blissett
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, January 2017
Researchers found that non-Whites are 12 percentage points less likely than otherwise similar White test takers to attain the required licensure score. They found little evidence that SLLA scores predict measures of principal job performance, including supervisors’ evaluation ratings or teachers’ assessments of school leadership from a statewide survey.

Processes and Dynamics Behind Whole-School Reform: Nine-Year Journeys of Four Primary Schools
Yuk Yung Li
American Educational Research Journal, January 2017
Researchers found that continued progress depended on whether school leaders and external partners could adapt their roles and redesign the organization to address the school’s changing capacity and needs.

Central Office Supports for Data-Driven Talent Management Decisions
Jason A. Grissom, Mollie Rubin, Christine M. Neumerski, Marisa Cannata, Timothy A. Drake, Ellen Goldring, Patrick Schuermann
Educational Researcher, January 2017
Researchers investigated the barriers to principals’ use of teacher effectiveness measures in eight urban districts and charter management organizations that are investing in new systems for collecting such measures and making them available to school leaders and the supports central offices are building to help principals overcome those barriers.