The spotlight on the effectiveness of turnaround efforts in low-performing public U.S. schools has been increasingly spotlighted in the local, state, and national media (Atwell & Domina, 2008). As such, accountability has been a prevalent topic in the evaluation of organizational effectiveness in educational institutions (Berry & Herrington, 2011). Schools and educational leaders have faced increased demands for accountability and are under relentless pressure to improve student academic performance (Bogan & Nguyen-Hoang, 2014). The level at which schools perform was measured primarily through the focus on student academic achievement, which is often judged by a school’s composite test scores or measures of adequate yearly progress (Carbonaro & Covay, 2010). A wealth of research demonstrates that students have the propensity to be successful in any type of school environment (Chenowith, 2007).As the role of the principal has changed from manager to instructional leader, the action and attitudes of the principal are often seen and imitated by teachers and staff (Branch, Hanushek, & Rivkin, 2013) This social learning pattern led to the premise that the school leader’s actions and priorities have a major impact on others in the organization, which in turn, impact student academic achievement (Krohn, 2011). The role of the principal in school turnaround situations is critical.
For many principals in turnaround schools, it seems like everyone is "Waiting on Superman". The principal in this type of school has the ability and responsibility to change the educational landscape to make a positive impact on the lives of children for future generations. Children, parents, communities, teachers, and staff are depending on great leadership from their principal.
The Principal Factor: How Leadership Can Turn Around America's Failing Schools
The top two ingredients to turning around any school is (1) great teachers and (2) a great principal (Duke 2006).