Education News

HISD High Schools Seeing Less Principal Turnover

Some of HISD’s top high schools have had completely stable leadership in the last five years, like the nationally recognized Carnegie Vanguard.

Principals gather in the Board Auditorium for a meeting at the Hattie Mae White Building in April 2013. That year, principal turnover at HISD hit 18 percent.
Principals gathered for a meeting at the Hattie Mae White Building in April 2013. That year, principal turnover at HISD hit 18 percent.

Principal turnover at high schools in the Houston Independent School District hit a high of 18 percent in 2013 and again 2015, according to a data analysis of the last five years by Houston Public Media.

This past school year, however, was more stable: Just 9 percent of HISD high schools had a new leader.

These numbers put HISD in line with other urban districts. According to a 2014 report by the School Leaders Network, a typical district loses anywhere from 15 to thirty percent of their principals each year.

“Principal turnover is common and it’s particularly common in high-needs schools, so schools that are serving large proportions of kids living in poverty, for example, or in challenging urban districts,” said Laura Hamilton with RAND Education.

HISD’s numbers reflect that. At least eight high schools saw three different principals in the past five years. Those include some schools that the Texas Education Agency has said need improvement, including Kashmere, Westbury and Worthing high schools.

“In general having excessive principal turnover is disruptive and potentially harmful for teachers and for kids,” Hamilton added, speaking generally and not about HISD.

Some of HISD’s top high schools have had completely stable leadership in the same period, like the nationally recognized Carnegie Vanguard.

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Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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