Cover: Distributing Instructional Leadership

Distributing Instructional Leadership

Implementation Lessons from an Urban School Leadership Residency Program

Published Oct 17, 2018

by Jennifer L. Steele, Elizabeth D. Steiner, Laura S. Hamilton

Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.4 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Using focus group and interview data collected annually over four years with participants in an alternative-route school leadership preparation program, we examine the strengths and challenges of the preparation model as implemented in a small urban district. Representing a partnership between the city school district, local charter school networks, and a large nonprofit organization, the program provided a two-year residency for aspiring administrators working as assistant-level administrators or teacher leaders. By their second program year, most residents reported feeling rigorously prepared for school leadership roles. Amid declining enrollments and school closures, residents' career paths diverged over time, with two of 42 initially placed residents obtaining principalships within the four-year study period, and about a third receiving promotions to higher positions. Residents reported differing levels of support for their residency roles, especially those teachers in instructional leadership roles. Some program participants reported that residents in their schools were strategically deployed to distribute responsibility for instructional improvement; this was particularly true in schools staffed by program alumni.

This research was conducted by RAND Education.

This report is part of the RAND working paper series. RAND working papers are intended to share researchers' latest findings and to solicit informal peer review. They have been approved for circulation by RAND but may not have been formally edited or peer reviewed.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.