This article, excerpted from Dr. Blane Covert’s doctoral dissertation, assesses the realities of the Head of School/Superintendent position.
According to the article “Preparing for the First Headship,” an effective educational leader is expected to wear many hats: teacher, counselor, personnel director, attorney, marketing expert, and fundraiser, among others. Johnson (1996) found it critical for the head administrator to be an educator, a politician, and a manager. Similarly, Edwards (2006) asserted that Heads of School and Superintendents must develop a vision, understand financial matters, manage conflict, effect positive change, identify curriculum issues, communicate effectively with all constituencies, and negotiate political challenges. In short, school/district leadership is a difficult job.
In analyzing the executive skills of effective superintendents, Sergiovanni endorsed what he called value-added leadership, a “model of practice that seeks first to secure a satisfactory level of performance and commitment from teachers and students, and then to achieve extraordinary performance” (pp. 3-4). McDaniel (2003) reported that being alert to educational trends, sharing ideas with other school leaders, involving other administrators in the decision-making process, joining professional organizations, participating in continuing education opportunities, and being accountable to the community were all indicative of successful leadership.
This is just a fraction of the research on successful school leadership, and it's overwhelming. Does your Board really know how to vet the candidates that a search firm presents for consideration?
Blane Covert, Ed.D., an award-winning educator with 19 years of experience at three highly regarded independent schools, dedicated his doctoral research to the subject of Head of School/Superintendent turnover. The data revealed that most Boards of Trustees have little or no experience evaluating candidates for leadership positions. However, Dr. Covert realized that this experience gap could be bridged by helping Board Members gain the skills and perspective needed to better manage the search and selection process.
Academy Educational Consulting solves the Head of School/Superintendent turnover problem with high-impact online courses that empower Independent School Boards of Trustees and Public School Boards of Education to take control of the leadership succession process. To learn more about how to make your next Head of School/Superintendent search a success, visit www.academyeducationalconsulting.com.