This is probably why the overwhelming majority of principals love their job, and they love having an impact on learning.
Like many professions though, one in ten fell into the job by chance or circumstance and had never planned to become the leader of a school.
"It's essential that principals are well prepared for the role; they look after the well-being, progress and achievement of all students in Australian schools," AITSL CEO Lisa Rodgers states.
"We know that great teaching has the biggest impact on the learning lives of students, after that it's the school principal and their leadership teams."
School leadership has to be a national priority, supporting great work in states and territories.
That is why AITSL has developed Leading for impact: Australian guidelines for school leadership development.
From today, these guidelines will make it easier for systems and sectors, principals, and other education leaders to find and develop future leaders, and ensure pathways to leadership are clear and inclusive.
AITSL's evidence-informed recommendations and advice describe what teachers need to develop their leadership skills, and the specific preparation of those who aspire to become a principal.
They also guide the professional growth of current principals.
Dennis Yarrington, President of the Australian Primary Principals Association, welcomes the guidelines, saying "The development of effective school leadership is critical to Australia's educational success. The guidelines will provide greater support for the development of aspiring leaders, which will ensure our future school leaders are well prepared."
Educators in Australia have world leading professional standards - the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers and Australian Professional Standard for Principals.
The guidelines provide pathways to leadership through the application of these standards.
"It's very important to note that the guidelines also recognise the need for ongoing support of current principals and provide a road map for professional growth of these leaders," Yarrington says.
"To grow a diverse and strong pool of potential future leaders, teachers need the right opportunities and support so they can be well prepared to lead teaching and learning," Rodgers says.