According to Dr. Gil Pereg, CEO of Darca Schools, Israel suffers from a severe shortage of excellent school principals and talented leaders to run its schools in the future.

“I believe that the quality of a nation cannot exceed the quality of its school leaders and we are in a great leadership crisis,” said Pereg.

The Ministry of Education recently released data on how many students completed their matriculation exams, around 73%. According to Pereg, this does not include the students who did not take the exams, such as school dropouts. In other words, the percentage is much lower – probably closer to 50%.

“When you think of that number – this number should really keep us all up at night,” said Pereg. “What it means is that in stronger places like Raanana, Ramat Gan and Tel Aviv it is 80% or 90% [passing their exams] and in other places it looks more like 20% or 30%.

“It’s unfair, immoral and unsustainable,” he added. “To break this bad and vicious link between a poor socio-economic background and the performance of students growing up in these communities, Darca was created.

The organization currently operates at 43 high schools with more than 24,000 students and has a success rate of around 93%.

It has been shown that if schools are funded fairly, the playing field is level, and talented school leaders are brought in, students in the periphery can achieve exactly the same results as their peers in more affluent parts of the country.

Additionally, with support from the Azrieli Foundation, Darca Schools has just launched a groundbreaking educational leadership accelerator to address leadership challenges.

“Our goal is to attract the most talented people to be headmasters,” said Pereg. “Darca is making sure that the entire nation has enough adequate headmasters to run the schools of the future.”