Leadership to Date, Leadership Tomorrow: A Review of Data on Charter School Directors

June 2007

The importance of leadership for a school's success has long been an undisputed fact in education. As the charter school movement matures and grows in scale, the leadership of charter schools must expand to include not only founding leaders but also those who can take over established schools, solidify operational systems, manage school growth, and guide school improvement initiatives.

In this report, we review the available data to describe the current corps of leaders in charter schools: how they are prepared, how they experience their work, and the institutional strategies in place to sustain and transition leadership. Each of these issues can inform how to direct future development resources. We found three areas in which charter school leaders would be well served by improved training and mentorship, including financial development and management, parent relations, and strategic planning. In addition, these data suggest that future training programs should consider approaches that involve local networks and in-the-field mentorship, especially for newer school directors.