Characteristics of Public, Private, and Bureau of Indian Education Elementary and Secondary School Principals in the United States:
NCES 2009-323
June 2009

Selected Findings

  • In 2007–08, there were an estimated 118,610 school principals in the United States; 90,470 were public school principals, 27,960 were private school principals, and 170 were BIE-funded school principals (table 1).

  • Among public school principals, 81 percent were non-Hispanic White, 11 percent were non-Hispanic Black, and 7 percent were Hispanic. Among private school principals, 87 percent were non-Hispanic White, 7 percent were non-Hispanic Black, and 4 percent were Hispanic (table 2).

  • About 50 percent of public school principals and 53 percent of private school principals were female (table 3).

  • Among public schools, more principals held a master's degree (61 percent) as their highest degree than a bachelor's degree or less (1 percent) or an education specialist/professional diploma (29 percent) or a doctorate/first professional degree (8 percent). Among private schools, more principals held a master's degree (50 percent) as their highest degree earned, compared to those with a bachelor's degree or less (33 percent) or an education specialist/professional diploma (10 percent) or a doctorate/first professional degree (7 percent) (table 4).

  • The average annual salary of public school principals was $85,700. Principals in public secondary schools earned more ($90,300) than principals in public elementary schools ($85,200) and in public combined schools ($75,800). Among private school principals, the average annual salary was $57,500. Principals in private secondary schools earned more ($75,100) than principals in private elementary schools ($55,500) and in private combined schools ($55,100) (table 5).

  • On average, public school principals spent 58.4 hours per week on all school-related activities, including 20.8 hours per week interacting with students. Private school principals, on average, spent 53.6 hours per week on all school-related activities, including 19.2 hours per week interacting with students (table 6).

  • Public school principals had, on average, 7.5 years of experience as a principal, of which 4.2 years were spent in their current school. Private school principals had, on average, 10.0 years of experience as a principal, of which 6.8 were spent in their current school (table 7).

  • About 90 percent of public school principals reported having a major influence on hiring new full-time teachers at their school, while 94 percent of private school principals reported the same (table 8).

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