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Research report

Shortage of school principals

Research carried out in a number of countries highlights the potential impact of strong school leadership on persistence and academic success. However, the heavy workload and high level of responsibility incumbent on school principals and other educational leaders may deter potential candidates from choosing this career path, and can lead to burnout for some people in leadership positions. As a result, Québec's school boards are experiencing problems attracting and retaining school principals. This issue raises certain questions: How can Québec's school boards attract (recruit) and select quality candidates with the skills needed to fulfil the strategic objective of enhancing persistence and academic success? And once new principals have been appointed, how do we ensure that they stay and reach their full potential to contribute to fulfilling the objective of enhancing the persistence and academic success of the students within their school board?

How do we ensure that principals reach their full potential?

The results of this research suggest that human resources management policies and practices designed for educational leadership, including those relating to recruitment, selection and professional integration, can have a positive impact on the issue of recruitment and retention. The study proposes a framework for examining these policies and practices and offers the different social actors affected by this issue – including school boards, professional associations and universities – possible courses of action based on experience.


Main researcher: Nancy Lauzon, Université de Sherbrooke

Original title: Étude des facteurs explicatifs de pénurie et de problèmes de rétention du personnel de directions d'établissement scolaire, en lien avec l'amélioration de la persévérance et de la réussite scolaires

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