Vallay Varro was a founding state executive director. She now serves as the president of 50CAN.

Minnesota just scored big for its public schools and the principals leading them. Since the beginning of session we’ve been fighting to enact legislation that would hold principals to the same standard as their teachers by connecting 35 percent of principal evaluations to student learning gains.

And on Friday we celebrated: Gov. Dayton has signed education omnibus bill House File 2949, which includes our principal evaluation provision, into law.

This bill builds on the progress made last year when the legislature enacted a law to require annual principal evaluations and to create a work group to develop a trusted evaluation model. Thanks to the leadership of the governor, the legislature and Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius we will now have regular, comprehensive evaluations for Minnesota principals.

In addition to gauging student learning gains, the new principal evaluation model will also look at how well a principal:

  • Establishes a vision and mission focused on shared goals and high expectations
  • Provides instructional leadership
  • Supports teachers
  • Builds professional, ethical and collaborative relationships based on effective communication
  • Manages resources for systemic performance accountability

This principal evaluation model is a key policy play, providing us with a trusted system for identifying which principals are thriving and which are faltering so we can support those who need it and recognize those who deserve it.

Now we have to tell the Governor to enact another critical policy play: ending seniority-based teacher lay-offs. Please write Gov. Dayton today and tell him to sign H.F. 1870 to retain Minnesota’s high-performing teachers.

Thanks for all that you do and coming together to make a difference for our public schools!


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