CST Publication – “What it Takes” for a Turnaround: Principal Competencies that Matter for Student Achievement

“What it Takes” for a Turnaround: Principal Competencies that Matter for Student Achievement 

A Guide to Thoughtfully Identifying and Supporting Turnaround Leaders

Dallas Hambrick Hitt

Over the last eight years, CST partner the University of Virginia Partnership for Leaders in Education (UVA/PLE) has worked with over 50 districts and state education agencies across the country to embark on high-level change at the state, district, and school levels through the use of leader competencies. In this guide, we call upon our practice-based experience, expertise, and insight to pro­vide both technical assistance and thought leadership to districts and systems involved in “school turnaround.”

Specifically, we discuss the behavioral event interview (BEI) and turnaround leader competencies, and we explain how each of these can support the turnaround endeavor. A BEI is a particular type of interview that allows candidates’ suitability for a position to emerge by measuring their competencies, which are ways of behaving, acting, and feel­ing that support a person’s performance in a particular role. This guide provides a ratio­nale for using BEIs and competencies, and it takes an in-depth look at how they might be used in practice. It also explores how sev­eral districts and states use these research-based processes to improve selection as well as other human resource functions, such as school assignment and professional development.