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Empty Chairs at Empty Tables

January 15, 2018

This article is about hiring in today’s market and then retaining your new school leader.


As baby boomers continue to retire in waves, there are more Head of School and Superintendent openings than ever before.  Alarmingly, there are fewer qualified candidates willing to apply for these top jobs.  Why?


Current Heads and Superintendents tend to blame school boards for the diminishing number of candidates.  Specifically, they point to boards’ micromanagement as the primary reason that qualified candidates simply aren’t interested in taking on the increased responsibility.  In addition, they also indicate that both the time commitment and the stressful nature of the job discourage potential leaders from putting their names in the hat.  


Understanding educational executives’ concerns can help boards hire and retain the next generation of school leadership.  


Here are a few suggestions for school boards:  


  1. Don’t Micromanage your Head of School or Superintendent.  View him or her as an equal partner rather than as an employee.  Ask for and consider his or her input when setting policy or creating a strategic plan.  

  2. Allow the new leader time (9-12 months, minimum) to meet the constituents, understand the issues, and formulate solutions. Forcing the new leader to immediately implement several new initiatives almost always backfires.  When the time is right, set strategic priorities and focus on key issues.

  3. Protect your new leader.  Your Head of School/Superintendent’s physical and emotional health should be the board’s shared concern.  Encourage a balance between work and home.            

Academy Educational Consulting helps School Boards understand key employment issues so that they can recruit and ultimately hire a candidate who is truly compatible with those in the school community.  For more information, call 501-230-0881.  

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