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The Great Divide

November 1, 2017

This article is fifth in a series about the effects of head of school turnover.  


In the course of my dissertation research, I came across an NAIS survey that was given to both Heads of Schools and Board Chairs.  The purpose of the survey was to have these two groups rank 14 Head of School responsibilities by importance in an effort to gauge the level of philosophical alignment between these two key constituencies.


The results were astounding:  The responsibility ranked 1st by Heads (teaching) was ranked 14th (dead last!) by Board Chairs.  The responsibility ranked 2nd by Board Chairs (work with trustees) was ranked 11th by Heads of School!  It’s easy to understand high turnover at the Head of School level in light of such a major disconnect between what each group values.

More recent surveys have reflected a growing correlation between the beliefs of these two groups, but my point is this:  Board members must recognize the competencies necessary for the successful administration of a school, define an institution’s value proposition, and establish the dimensions of candidate fit so that the search firms they hire can find the right candidate for each unique school.  Such conversations are essential—not only for the search firms to do their jobs well, but also for the new Head of School, for the Board of Trustees, and for the stability of schools in the midst of significant transition.


If you could use a little guidance during these critical conversations, Academy Educational Consulting can assist. We help Boards gain the skills and perspective needed to better manage the search and selection process. To learn more, contact Academy Educational Consulting today at 501-230-0881.

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