Supervising Principals for Instructional Leadership specifies the conditions that district leaders can implement to help principal supervisors take a teaching and learning approach to their work. In particular, Meredith I. Honig and Lydia R. Rainey explore how these supervisors can most effectively support principals in becoming instructional leaders and developing the capacity to lead their own learning.
The authors argue for a shift in supervisors’ focus from a compliance and evaluation orientation to one in which they serve as learning partners for these principals. The professional development the supervisors offer principals must advance from group meetings focused on the delivery of information to intensive coaching differentiated to meet principals’ needs. Using extended cases and detailed examples, the authors illustrate how supervisors associated with positive results teach rather than tell. These successful supervisors guide principals’ learning with specific teaching moves such as modeling how to think and act like an instructional leader.
Based on extensive research of district central offices, Supervising Principals for Instructional Leadership advocates for a transformation to the role of principal supervisors.
Meredith I. Honig is a professor of Education Policy, Organizations, and Leadership at the University of Washington (UW), Seattle. Her research, teaching, and district partnerships focus on the interruption and rebuilding of inequitable school district practices and systems to ensure high-quality teaching and learning for each student, especially those historically underserved by public schools. Her work recognizes that barriers to educational equity are systemic, that school district central office leaders are in strategic positions to lead for systemic changes important to such results, and that they would benefit from new knowledge and support for their leadership.
Dr. Honig has examined and supported district leadership of various reform strategies, including: school-community partnerships, new small autonomous schools initiatives, data-informed decisionmaking, and districtwide teaching and learning improvement efforts. Her findings have been published in such journals as Educational Researcher, the American Educational Research Journal, and Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis and funded by the Wallace Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the W.T. Grant Foundation, and other sources.
In 2014, Dr. Honig and Lydia R. Rainey established the District Leadership Design Lab (DL2) to enable district leaders to access knowledge and tools to help them lead their own efforts to fundamentally transform their central offices into school support systems. Between 2012 and 2018, Dr. Honig directed the Leadership for Learning (EdD) program, which won the 2016 Exemplary Educational Leadership Program award from the University Council for Educational Administration.
Prior to joining the UW-Seattle faculty, Dr. Honig was an assistant professor and codirector of the Center for Educational Policy and Leadership at the University of Maryland, College Park. She has worked at the California Department of Education and in other state and local youth-serving agencies. She received her AB from Brown University in Educational Studies and Public Policy and American Institutions and her PhD in Educational Administration and Policy Analysis from Stanford University.
Lydia R. Rainey is a research scientist at the UW-Seattle and the director of research for DL2. Since 2000, Dr. Rainey has researched ways to design and implement equitable school systems. Her recent research has focused on how education leaders in both central offices and schools implement policies that call for deep changes in their day-to-day work and how they use various forms of data and evidence in their decision-making. She approaches this work using traditional qualitative and quantitative techniques, as well as design-based research partnerships.
Prior to joining DL2, she worked with the UW-Bothell’s Center on Reinventing Public Education, the UW-Seattle’s Center for Teaching and Policy, and the City of Seattle Office of Education. Dr. Rainey has a PhD in Education Policy, Organizations, and Leadership, a master’s of Public Administration from the Evans School of Public Affairs, and a BA in Political Economy, all from the UW-Seattle.
"Supervising Principals for Instructional Leadership: A Teaching and Learning Approach by Meredith I. Honig and Lydia R. Rainey is a must-read for current principal supervisors, principal coaches, and researchers who desire to transition from the traditional and incomplete focus on operational and compliance-based management of principals." —Teachers College Record
"Every principal needs to learn how to become a better instructional leader and the book outlines research from Honig and Rainey, which shows how supervisors can support principals to become instructional leaders and develop the capacity to lead their own learning." —School Administrator