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Austin ISD Selected to Participate in George W. Bush Institute’s School Leadership District Cohort

Work aims to help districts find, support and retain high-quality principals and improve student outcomes

The Austin Independent School District has been selected to participate in the George W. Bush Institute’s School Leadership District Cohort, a professional learning community consisting of four selected school districts across the U.S. The cohort will work hand-in-hand with the Bush Institute’s Education Reform team to implement their Principal Talent Management Framework. The framework was published in 2016 as a part of the School Leadership Initiative, formerly known as The Alliance to Reform Leadership.

“We’re excited to be a part of the district cohort as we realize our vision to reinvent the urban educational experience,” said Superintendent Paul Cruz. “Having strong leaders in the district affects the classroom as well as our students and we are committed to hiring and retaining the very best principals for our schools.” 

The following districts were also selected to participate:

  • Fort Worth Independent School District, Fort Worth
  • Chesterfield County Public Schools, Chesterfield, VA
  • Granite School District, Salt Lake City, UT

The Principal Talent Management Framework is an evidence-based pathway for districts to attract, develop, and retain high-quality principals. The framework represents a distillation of the best research available on principal talent management strategies. 

Over the course of a three-year period, the Bush Institute will work with participating districts to identify their individual needs related to each Framework component and build district-level capacity accordingly. The Bush Institute will also provide expert coaching, access to tools and resources, and other support to the district professional learning community. Former Charlotte-Mecklenburg superintendent Ann Clark and Denver Public Schools’ Mikel Royal will bring their expertise and experience as District Advisors to the project. 

“We have chosen four school districts that understand how critical school leadership is to improving student outcomes,” said Eva Chiang, Deputy Director of Education Reform at the Bush Institute. “We are eager to use our research to help these school districts improve their policies and practices for preparing, supporting and retaining the best principals.”

For more information on the School Leadership Initiative and the district cohort, please visit


About the School Leadership Initiative:

The School Leadership Initiative is part of the Bush Institute Education Reform Initiative’s ongoing efforts to help improve student outcomes and the quality of schools through data and research. Research shows that principals account for 25 percent of a school’s total impact on student achievement. Principals play a critical role in hiring, supporting, and retaining effective teachers, improving the overall school climate, and enhancing student progress. While significant focus has been paid to effective teachers, little attention has been given to the role of the school leader despite the important role they play in student success. Rooted in President and Mrs. Bush’s belief that “excellent schools must first have excellent leaders,” the Bush Institute developed the School Leadership Initiative, formerly known as the Alliance to Reform Leadership, to dramatically improve the way our Nation’s principals are prepared and supported. The School Leadership Initiative is transforming the district level systems in place to manage principal talent, helping districts find, support and retain great school leaders. The School Leadership Initiative is one of the Bush Institute’s flagship programs.


About the George W. Bush Institute:

Housed within the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the George W. Bush Institute is an action-oriented, nonpartisan policy organization with the mission of developing leaders, advancing policy, and taking action to solve today’s most pressing challenges. The work is achieved through three Impact Centers – Domestic Excellence, Global Leadership, and the Engagement Agenda – by which the Bush Institute engages the greater community with it's important work.


About Austin ISD

AISD is the largest school district in central Texas. Follow AISD on Facebook at, Instagram at @austinisd or on Twitter at @AustinISD