Strength from Within? Internal Recruitment and Principal Turnover

Andrew Pendola, Edward Fuller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The objective of this study is to add to the existing literature on principal recruitment and hiring strategies by examining the turnover and retention patterns of internally recruited principals. For many hard-to-staff schools—particularly urban and rural schools—internal recruitment is considered a primary method of improving recruitment and retention. However, the relation of recruitment source to turnover has yet to be explored. Utilizing techniques including ordinary least squares and logistic regression and discrete-time hazard modeling over 17 years of administrative data from the Texas Education Agency, this study investigates (1) the personal and school characteristics of internally hired principals and (2) whether internally hired principals are more stable in their positions than externally hired principals. Results demonstrate that internal hires tend to be from more historically underrepresented groups and serve in urban schools with slightly greater proportions of students of color. Furthermore, internally hired principals are significantly less likely than external hires to turn over. However, results also demonstrate that within-school hires are more likely to turn over than within-district hires. These results suggest that internal recruitment has the potential to help stem the high rate of principal turnover but could be more widely utilized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-53
Number of pages36
JournalJournal of Education Human Resources
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education

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