While some leaders may jump directly from research or another field to a leadership position, in order to understand the field of education it is advantageous to have classroom teaching experience.
I am a trained scientist. However, while I was in graduate school, I worked for a non profit that allowed me to go into the classroom and teach twice a month for five years. This was especially important for understand classroom needs, management and the actual feel of a classroom.
Those who are interested in working in education leadership should seek out opportunities to serve in the classroom.