The purpose of this article is to examine a ‘grow your own’ model of leadership preparation and placement of educational administrators in the state of Tennessee. The growing need for school and district administrators in the rural counties of Tennessee mirrors a nationwide issue, and state policymakers and practitioners must respond appropriately to sustain adequate K-12 educational leadership that is representative of state demographics. Recommendations for policy and practice are provided for state and local education agencies as well as principal preparation programs in higher education.

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