This from the National Journal:
The principal is your pal. (That's how I learned to spell it, anyway.) That statement may be hard to square with literary characterizations of principals--from the hapless Principal Krupp in the acclaimed kids' book series Captain Underpants to the deliciously evil Principal Rooney in the 1996 John Hughes film Ferris Bueller's Day Off--but it does bear out in real life. A principal's main job is to make sure the kids and teachers in his or her school are taken care of, and that's no small task.A new report from the Center for Public Education says that a principal's responsibilities have grown beyond administrative duties to include core curriculum and student achievement goals, and many in the profession now feel the job is "undoable."
However, the report also says that principals often are the key ingredient to improving a school's performance, and principals have the most impact at low-achieving schools. Effective principals hire and retain the most effective teachers, and they stick around to make sure that needed changes are carried through. The less effective principals tend to move more frequently to different schools, which adversely impacts the students and teachers.
Principals also are on the hook more than they used to be with the achievement goals of No Child Left Behind and the Education Department's turnaround model for low-performing schools, which mandates new leadership. The Center for Public Education agrees with the administration that the principal is a critical element in turning around a low-performing school, but its report notes that even the best leaders need time before the results of their labors are evident. "It takes a highly effective principal about five years to fully impact a school's performance," the report said...