Rocketship Principals are unprepared

Rocketship principals lack appropriate credentials and teaching experience. Exclusive Investigative Report has analyzed publicly available data to generate a report on principal credentialing and experience at Rocketship schools. Of the nine current Rocketship principals, only one has an administrator credential, and three principals appear to have no state elementary school teaching credential. According to LinkedIn profiles, several of the principals appear to have little or no in classroom teaching experience before they rose to school leader. The lack of principal credentialing appears to be in conflict with Rocketship’s charter, both through County Office of Education, and Franklin-McKinley School District.

We’re sure that each of these principals are fantastic individuals, with enormous potential. We do not intend to personally denigrate any of them, and as such, have redacted all names and personal identifiers from this posting (even though all of their names are listed publicly). However, the Rocketship organization has put them in the very difficult position of, in some cases, leading large elementary schools with little or no experience and without proper credentials. In light of Rocketship’s very aggressive growth plans, principal credentialing and experience is an important part of the public dialogue.

Rocketship Principal Credentialing Report **

School Name
Mateo SheedyCurrentMulti-Subject, ELL
Si Se PuedeCurrentMulti-Subject
Los SuenosCurrentAdministration, Multi-Subject
Discovery PrepCurrentMulti-Subject, ELL
Brilliant MindsCurrentSingle Subject Social Studies (not an elementary school credential)
Spark AcademyCurrentNone Listed under Principal's Name
Mateo Sheedy2007-2009Administration, Multi-Subject
Mateo Sheedy2009-2012Multi-Subject
Si Se Puede2009-2010None

(source: ***

We analyzed LinkedIn profiles of Rocketship principals. We found cases of principals rising to lead their schools after only 2 years of Teach For America experience, without having received formal university education or administration training. We found other examples of principals who came to lead their schools without direct classroom teaching experience. Again, we’re sure these are talented professionals, however, we believe that the Rocketship organization has put them in a leadership position without sufficient experience and training.

It’s no surprise that school performance has been linked to principal experience. The Wallace foundation has studied school principals extensively. In the PBS News Hour video below, Will Miller from Wallace Foundation says, “The most important thing from what the research tells us is that the principal needs to concentrate their time on improving instruction in the classroom, because that’s the thing that makes the most difference for the kids.”

With a lack of appropriate credentialing and training, we question whether Rocketship principals can effectively lead their schools in the long run. Falling test scores, and mediocre English Language performance have plagued Rockteship schools over the past year, as shown in graphs at the bottom of this post. Lack of experience, training, and expertise at the principal level may well contribute to these precipitous and worrisome declines.

Franklin McKinley School District Rocketship Charter (the authorizing agent for Spark Academy) requires that principals have a valid elementary (Multisubject) credential on page 55. The same required qualifications can be found in the Santa Clara County Office of Education charter petition, also on page 55.


Rocketship English Langauge test scores are now average for California low income students (from Rocketship Board Materials)


Falling test scores produce a worrying trend at Rocketship schools


**Note that we have redacted all names from this posting.

***Note that all information in this post was derived from public sources. Current principal names are listed on Rocketship’s website. Past principal names are listed in each School Accountability Report Card (also available on Rocketship’s website). Credentialing information is publicly available by searching names at