Being a strong early childhood education leader does not necessarily come naturally; it takes specialized knowledge and skills that need to be developed over time. Teaching prospective elementary school principals and center directors about early learning and providing them with practical experiences in pre-K settings through their preparation programs ensures that they are ready to be strong early education leaders. Preparation programs are usually designed based on what states require for licensure. While leaders can always learn valuable lessons through on-the-job experience, there is a basic level of knowledge that they should attain before managing an early education program. State-level policies governing early education leaders should prepare them to enter elementary schools and child care centers ready to support young students and their teachers.