rom the moment school leaders are hired, they are expected to mobilize the school community in improvement efforts focused on success for all students. Leading schools today means developing a culture of joint responsibility focused on a vision of prosperity, opportunity, and creativity (Hargreaves & Shirley, 2009). It requires growing student, teacher, staff, parent, and community leaders who are engaged in shared inquiry and innovative responses concerning learning challenges across an increasingly diverse community of practice (Seashore Louis, Leithwood, Wahlstrom, & Anderson, 2010; Sergiovanni, 2006; Glickman, 2003). Crucial to each
school leader’s success in this complex environment is development of
knowledge and skill through relevant preparation. Principal preparation program quality is habitually criticized by policy makers, school leaders, scholars, and professional organizations. Concerns are raised about the relevancy of practice to theory connections related to real time school purpose and capacity building (Fullan, 2009; Orr, King, & LaPointe, 2010); the need for a better aligned and more rigorous curriculum (Darling
Hammond, LaPointe, Meyerson, & Orr, 2009; Lashway, 2003), the lack of substantial clinical experiences (Frye
, Bottoms, & O’Neill, 2005;
Levine, 2005), and the underutilization of program assessment (Orr, 2009). In short, for principal preparation program completers to make an impact as school leaders, they must engage in program learning that is relevant to prek-12 school environments, delivered in a coherent and engaging sequence, facilitated by knowledgeable and experienced faculty, and assessed through both internal and external measures of effectiveness.
The Critical Role of Program Assessment
A growing emphasis on accountability for educator preparation continues to increase motivation for ongoing assessment about the