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Principal Retention Patterns in Arizona, Nevada, and Utah

The departure of a school leader can influence staff turnover and student achievement. As school systems emerge from the unprecedented public health crisis due to COVID-19, principal retention is a key concern for many local and state education agencies (LEAs). The Regional Educational Laboratory West conducted this study to help leaders in Arizona, Nevada, and Utah better understand their principal retention patterns so they can identify ways to provide more targeted support through new statewide leadership support initiatives. Findings showed that, overall, fewer than half of principals in each of these states have remained at the same school from fall 2016 to fall 2020 (four-year retention). Principal retention patterns varied by state according to grade span, locale type, and student demographics. For example, across the three states, proportionally fewer principals remained at lower-performing schools than at higher-performing schools from fall 2016 to fall 2019 (three-year retention). The study also found that principals who changed schools, but remained in the principalship, tended to move to a new school within the same LEA rather than to a new LEA.


Supporting Principals (Educator Development)

Publication Type

Educator Effectiveness Alliance

Publication Date
December 6, 2021