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Knowledge From the Field

Getting Principal Mentoring Right: Lessons From the Field

Published: March 2007

Publisher(s): Wallace Foundation

Funder(s): Wallace Foundation

View Report (28 pages; 1.1MB; PDF)

Area of focus: Teacher Quality


The report provides an overview of the why’s and how’s of mentoring in public schools, with an emphasis on moving away from a more casual “buddy” system of mentoring. It identifies problems with current mentoring systems and offers suggestions to improve effectiveness using a review of existing literature and interviews. Focused reviews of mentoring programs in Jefferson County, Kentucky, and New York City, New York are included.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

+ States and school districts are recognizing the need for on-the-job training for principals, as evidenced by the implementation of teacher mentoring programs.

= High-quality training for mentors should be required.

= Meaningful information about the efficacy of mentoring should be gathered.

= Mentoring should be provided for a minimum of one year, and ideally two or more years.

= Funding should be sufficient to provide quality training and stipends, and available long enough to provide a meaningful professional induction.

= The primary goal of training should be to provide new prin¬cipals with the knowledge, skills, and courage to become leaders of change who put teaching and learning first in their schools.

- Existing mentoring programs nationwide often are not effective in reaching their potential to prepare principals to be school leaders.

Geographic Focus: New York, NY; Jefferson County, KY

Subjects/Keywords: Teacher quality; leadership development; increasing teacher effectiveness; mentoring

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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