Press Release

Illinois Principals Association Announces the School Leader Continuum

Jason Leahy, Executive Director
Phone:  217-525-1383
Fax:  217-525-7264

Springfield, IL – A recent Wallace Foundation report offered that principals strongly shape the conditions for high-quality teaching and learning, are the prime factor in determining whether teachers stay in high-needs schools, and have a great impact on schools with the greatest needs. With this in mind, the Illinois Principals Association, in collaboration with principals associations in Indiana, Missouri, Washington, and Wisconsin, have created the School Leader Continuum to continue the development and support of school leaders statewide.

”Becoming Before Doing.  This concept of school leaders leading themselves well first lies at the heart of the School Leader Continuum and School Leader Paradigm,” said Jason Leahy, Executive Director of the Illinois Principals Association. “So much in the business of educational leadership is focused on the ‘doing’ or activity of the job.  However, the competencies and attributes school leaders possess and exhibit will determine their success.”

The School Leader Continuum contains two key components: the Continuum, which outlines four phases of school leader development, as well as a new School Leader Paradigm, which offers critical competencies and attributes school leaders must possess. The four phases of school leader development include aspiring, launching, building, and mastering school leadership. These four phases denote how school leaders must maintain a state of continuous growth and development from starting as a pre-service, or aspiring principal, all the way to a veteran principal with six or more years of experience.

The School Leader Paradigm focuses on personal intelligence, social intelligence, and systems intelligence, that include competencies and attributes recognized as critical for school leaders to be successful. Competencies such as wellness, self-management, community building, mission/vision strategic planning, and cultural responsiveness are all examples of areas for school leaders to self-examine and intentionally improve upon.

For more information about the School Leader Continuum, and detailed information about the phases of leadership development, competencies, and attributes associated with the Paradigm, please visit

The Illinois Principals Association serves over 5,200 educational leaders statewide and whose mission is to develop, support, and advocate for innovative educational leaders. For more information about the IPA, please visit


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