Childhood trauma is an all-too common factor in the lives of students and their families. Schools and communities across America are more likely to serve families that have experienced trauma (Anderson, 2016). Although trauma or toxic episodes can impact families across the economic spectrum, children living in poverty, in socially isolated areas, and in economically distressed communities are often disproportionately affected. Statistics offered by the National Resiliency Institute (2018) are as equally dismal, in that 72% of children and youth will experience a traumatic episode caused by abuse, neglect, the loss of their homes to hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, incarceration, parental separation, the death of a family member or due to mass shootings. Against the backdrop of these data, the authors of this manuscript argue that future-ready leadership requires that well-prepared principals must be armed with compassionate and research-informed responses. We recognize that the tenets of this research are currently missing from North Carolina’s School Executive Standards. In response to this gap, we propose incorporating the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative’s (TLPI) Flexible Framework as a guide for North Carolina’s schools of education and principal preparation programs. Moreover, the framework’s six core operational functions: leadership, professional development, access to resources and services, academic and nonacademic strategies, policies and protocols, and collaboration with families are critical to the development of trauma sensitive leadership and are necessary as principals prepare to support North Carolina’s children facing trauma.


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