Closing the Leadership Gap: 2017 Status Report on Early Childhood Program Leadership in the United States

by Michael B. Abel, Ph.D., Teri N. Talan, Ed.D., J.D., and Melissa K. Newkirk, M. ED.


This document may be printed, photocopied, and disseminated freely with attribution. All content is the property of the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership.

For more than 30 years, the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership at National Louis University has been dedicated to building the leadership capacity of the early childhood workforce. However, addressing the need to increase the competency of early childhood program leaders in all sectors of the field has been compromised by limited information and irregular data collection across the states. The 2012 National Survey of Early Care and Education did not report on the demographics of program leaders. Knowledge about the roles, qualifications, and status of the leadership workforce is highly siloed and largely determined by the specific reporting requirements of respective agencies, resulting in intermittent studies of segmented groups of program leaders, such as elementary school principals or Head Start directors. Therefore, a comprehensive, cross-sector resource regarding early childhood leadership is needed to fill this void and to support early childhood system-building efforts.

The L.E.A.D. Early Childhood™ Clearinghouse has been created in response to the need for better data on the early childhood leadership workforce.

Executive Summary

Full Report