It is widely accepted that leading school improvement in low-performing schools is the most challenging aspect of urban public education. The role of the principal encompasses negotiating district, school, personal and public expectations. Such schools are plagued by severe principal shortages and rely on inexperienced principals who are increasingly required to combine the essentials of school management, with compliant facilitation and effective leadership in order to lead school improvement. A group of early career principals and research team conducted a collaborative inquiry into leading low-performing schools. Participation in the CI contributed to participants growth by integrating their professional knowing, problems of practice, and personal goals. The process offered participants opportunities to question and improve their practice while developing a learning orientation. The CI fostered professional socialization, although the socialization experiences differed. Lastly, the CI positively affected participants’ practice, regardless of their level of learning or stage of socialization. This emphasizes the importance of CI as a professional development tool.