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School administrators face intensifying work demands and increased scrutiny. The role is challenging and isolating. For women, minorities, rural school leaders, and those new to administration, there are additional challenges to face.

It is essential for those shaping programs to prepare future school administrators and support leaders in the field to have a thorough understanding of the many challenges that can make it difficult for school leaders to simply survive, let alone thrive. Some challenges are common to nearly all school leaders, but challenges unique to individual leaders are shaped by circumstance, personal characteristics, and choices made along the way. Keeping that in mind, we will now review the current literature on the difficulties school leaders experience.