Leadership Standards


Leadership standards establish and communicate expectations for the professional practice of school leaders. They create a shared language about school leadership and serve as the foundation for all principal preparation and school leadership development efforts.

In Utah, the Board has established expectations for effective leadership standards and district responsibilities for leadership standards (Refer to the Utah State Board of Education Administrative Rules R277-530: Utah Effective Educator Standards).

In addition, current research on leadership standards both supports and extends the expectations established by the Board.

Indicators of quality implementation of leadership standards from current research include:

  • Districts have adopted leadership standards.
  • District leadership standards include competencies that help identify the specific actions that effective school leaders engage in every day.
  • Districts use their leadership standards to inform district policies and practices across all principal pipeline domains.
  • Districts regularly review their standards and competencies as part of a process of continuous improvement.
  • Districts engage key stakeholders in the adoption, use, and review of their leadership standards and competencies.

Educational Leadership Standards

The Utah State Standards for Educational Leadership Standards (UELS) were updated in 2018. The goal behind the revised standards was to better articulate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that Utah educators need to develop as they prepare for and serve as principals. The standards are intended to be used as a tool to guide the ongoing and continuous professional development of principals. They are also a required component of a principal evaluation system.

Utah State Standards for Educational Leadership

In addition, the Utah Leading through Effective, Actionable, and Dynamic (ULEAD) Education has created a series of Leadership Toolkits to support the implementation of Utah Educational Leadership Standards (UELS). There is one toolkit for each of the seven strands within the UELS. Other resources that may be helpful to Principals and Local Education Agencies can also be found on the Utah State Board of Education ULEAD Education website.

Strand 1

Visionary Leadership

Practicing Visionary Leadership Toolkit

Strand 2

Teaching and Learning

Promoting Effective Teaching and Learning Toolkit

Strand 3

Management for Learning

Managing to Support Learning Toolkit

Strand 4

Community Engagement

Engaging Families and Communities Toolkit

Strand 5

Ethical Leadership

Committing to Ethical Leadership Toolkit

Strand 6

School Improvement

Driving Continuous School Improvement Toolkit

Strand 7

Equity and Cultural Responsiveness

Emphasizing Equitable and Culturally Responsive Practices Toolkit



Building a Stronger Principalship

A series of reports on an effort to help school districts develop effective school leadership districtwide. Leadership standards are highlighted throughout.

Developing Excellent School Principals to Advance Teaching and Learning: Considerations for State Policy

There’s no one recipe for improving state policy on school leadership, but a set of considerations about matters including potential policy levers can help policymakers. Leadership standards are one of the policy levers explored.

How Principals Affect Students and Schools: A Systematic Synthesis of Two Decades of Research

An effective principal’s impact is stronger and broader than previously thought, making it difficult to envision a higher return on investment in K-12 education than the cultivation of high-quality school leadership, according to this research synthesis. This report includes the identification of three skills and four behaviors of principals that are linked to benefits for students and schools.

Principal Pipeline Self-Study Guide for Districts

This guide is designed to help school districts take stock of and improve their policies, processes and structures related to school leadership​.