According to a new study from researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, the presence of Black principals in schools increases the likelihood of hiring and retaining Black teachers.
For the study, the research team focused on schools in Missouri and Tennessee. They found that Black principals have more success in hiring diverse faculty because they have access to different networks to find diverse teachers, attract qualified Black teachers who prefer to work for Black principals, and African American principals are more likely to hire Black candidates than White principals.
In addition to creating a more diverse teaching staff, Black principals have a positive effect on Black students test scores, even when Black teachers aren’t present. This could be due to the effect of a Black principal on school culture, different discipline policies yielded by Black principals, and the effect of having a Black leader as a role model and example to students of color.
Since previous research has shown that students of color perform better when taught by teachers of color, the researchers suggest that hiring more principals of color could lead to more successful school districts overall. In order to recruit more diverse principals, the researchers recommend expanding networks to include more teacher candidates of color, strengthening the principal pipeline by identifying outstanding teachers of color and encouraging them to advance into these leadership roles, and gaining a better understanding of the hiring practices of successful Black principals.
The full study, “School Principal Race and the Hiring and Retention of Racially Diverse Teachers,” may be accessed here.