Principal Leadership at a Challenging Time: An Evaluation of the Missouri Leadership Development System

The Region 12 Comprehensive Center conducted an evaluation of the Missouri Leadership Development System (MLDS) to examine the perceptions of participants and help the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education learn from educators across the state about the implementation of the program, both preceding and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The primary purpose of MLDS is to develop and nurture effective school leaders throughout the state. MLDS supports principals at four levels, from Aspiring (pre-certificated), to Emerging (initial career entry), to Developing (practicing), and ultimately to the Transformational Principal.

The report indicates that dominant recommendation by principals, superintendents, and specialists is to build on current program strengths and extend customized services that address emerging, pandemic-related needs. Data from both interviews and survey responses show clearly that the first year of full implementation of the program was well-received by the field, both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report identifies key issues and provides recommendations for making targeted refinements to MLDS.