Principal leadership in special education is a critical piece in student and staff development. School principals are called to lead special education students and teachers on a daily basis. Feeling unprepared to serve in this capacity, many principals are at a loss as to how to work with their students and staff in this area. Taking a historical look at special education law, and the evolving need for principal involvement in special education, this study looks at past and present leadership theories. The author defines and honors the advocate principal for special education and identifies five core themes for successful principal leadership in the area of special education for the 21st century.