The purpose of this study is to review the landscape of empirical evidence on school leadership preparation and subsequent school-level effectiveness while conceptually exploring how societal transformations and educational changes shaped leadership development within the mainland of the People's Republic of China. Conceptually, this study is informed by Murphy and Vriesenga's (2006) comprehensive review of empirical work on leadership preparation, evaluative work on the pathway from preparation to school-level practice (cf, the UECA taskforce on evaluating the effectiveness of leadership preparation; Orr & Kottkamp, 2003; Orr & Orphanos, 2011) and empirical literature on school improvement. Data come from extensive reviews of English and Chinese language articles, conference papers, doctoral and master's theses, and other reports of research on the preparation of school leaders in Mainland China. Using a combination of inductive and deductive strategies, the lead author analyzed all selected sources using a three-pronged framework: who is being prepared for school leadership positions in China, by what design and delivery methods they are being prepared, and how well they are fulfilling leadership practices and expectations for which they are being prepared. The current analysis adds to the international knowledge base of the pathway between preparation and practice. It also highlights the importance of considering the cultural, social, and political context that shapes conceptions of leadership and the design and implementation of educational leadership preparation programs.