Oklahoma schools struggle to keep principals

Apr 18, 2017

Credit Brad Gibson / Oklahoma Watch

For decades, Oklahoma public schools have been struggling to retain principals. Last year 73 percent of Oklahoma’s 1,900 principals had held their positions for five years or less.

As Oklahoma Watch reports, the constant turnover of principals costs Oklahoma districts thousands of dollars a year.

One factor in the frequency of principal turnover appears to be low pay. Oklahoma ranks third from the bottom among states when it comes to compensation for educators.

But, according to a report from the School Leaders Network, there are four more consequential causes for principals leaving Oklahoma schools. First, their overwhelming managerial duties interfere with the more meaningful work of instructional leadership. Second there are the personal costs, such as long hours. Third, the job can be isolating. And fourth, principals often find their hands tied by district and state bureaucracy.