NAESP Releases New Principal Guidebook: Leading Learning Communities

Principals should prioritize equity and social-emotional learning to build culture, empower people, and optimize systems.

Media Advisory
Kaylen Tucker, NAESP

July 11, 2019—Today during its annual conference—held this year in Spokane, Washington—the National Association of Elementary School Principals released the executive summary of Leading Learning Communities: Pillars, Practices, and Priorities for Effective Principals. Like the two editions that precede it, Leading Learning Communities is developed by and for principals and articulates a vision and practical strategies for what effective principals do.

The guidebook provides a concise and practice-oriented philosophy of the principalship that is organized around:

Pillars: main areas of focus that define the “what” of the principalship;
Practices: corresponding strategies for “how” effective principals operate; and
Priorities: a shared set of core beliefs that describe the “why” of what effective principals do every day.

The culminating theory of the principalship is intentionally aligned to the 2015 Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL), which NAESP played a pivotal role in developing, as well as to pre-existing NAESP mentoring standards.

“The role of the principal has become increasingly complex, with school leaders at the forefront of not only preparing students to thrive academically, personally, and, later in life, professionally, but also in leading efforts to increase educational equity, foster diversity, close achievement gaps, and care for the well-being of teachers and students,” said NAESP Executive Director Dr. L. Earl Franks, CAE. “Our hope is that the pillars, practices, and priorities described in this publication will help principals develop a comprehensive leadership approach that will have long-lasting impact on student success.”

Leading Learning Communities was informed by the Leading Learning Communities Committee, a diverse group of practicing principals who are NAESP members.

Access the Leading Learning Communities executive summary here. The full publication will be available Sept. 1 on Amazon and NAESP’s website:

Principals are the primary catalysts for creating lasting foundations for learning. Since 1921, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) has been the leading advocate for elementary and middle-level principals in the United States and worldwide. NAESP advances the profession by developing policy, advancing advocacy, and providing professional learning and resources for instructional leadership, including specialized support and mentoring for early career principals. NAESP administers the National Distinguished Principals Program, the Center for Innovative Leadership, the NAESP Pre-K–3 Leadership Academy, the American Student Council Association, and the President’s Education Awards & American Citizenship Awards Programs. For more information about NAESP, please visit