Member Support

New Principal Mentoring


Why Mentoring Matters

  • The principalship is more demanding than ever: Principals are creating the culture, systems, and instructional conditions necessary for all children to achieve at high levels in an economic and social context that is complex, challenging and fraught with inequity for children and families.
  • Nationally, 1 in 4 principals remain in place in a school over a five year period, with 20% of new urban principals leaving the profession within two years (RAND Corporation, 2012).

Principal mentoring can support the development of novice school administrators as instructional leaders and increase principal retention, contributing to greater stability in school reform efforts over time. 

Best Practices

In Getting Principal Mentoring Right (2007), the Wallace Foundation suggests these best practices for a district system to consider when putting in place a principal mentoring program:
  • Provide at least one year of support, ideally two or more.
  • Require high-quality training for mentors.
  • Provide funding for training, stipends, and sustained length of meaningful induction.
  • Gather information about efficacy.
  • Maintain clear goals for enabling principals to be leaders of change.
AWSP’s  Principal Mentoring Planning Template embeds many best practice recommendations and provides a tool for districts to identify what they have in place now and what steps might be taken next. 

The Program

AWSP’s mentoring program is designed to pair new principals with a qualified mentor who has been specially trained by AWSP to support a new principal in their first years of building leadership. Mentees will receive 40 hours (3-4 hours per month) of 1:1 mentoring and coaching across the school year with a focus on skill and talent development. Additionally, mentees will also be enrolled in AWSP’s Launching Principal Leadership series. Individual mentoring coupled with Launching Principal Leadership will provide a strong foundation that helps to ensure a successful first year of building leadership.

Annotated Resources

National Association of Elementary School Principals: National Mentor Training & Certification Center

“Since 2003 NAESP has worked with close to 2,000 mentors across the country as well as globally, to engage highly-skilled and highly-trained mentors in leveraging their experience and expertise to develop new leaders.”

NAESP’s Center for New Principals
NAESP’s center for new K–8 principals provides tips, best practices, webinars and articles organized around the themes of leadership growth and achievement; student growth and achievement; school planning and progress; school culture; instructional leadership; and stakeholder support and engagement. They also provide a Principal Help Line.

The Principal Mentor Network of New Mexico Leadership Institute

While tied to their state licensure requirements, this resource site does include many downloadable documents that can be used as-is or adapted to other contexts.


For More Information 

Gina Yonts | Associate Director | (800) 562-6100