In this article, Dr. Blane Covert urges Boards of Trustees to seek input from multiple constituencies when searching for a Head of School or Superintendent.
You’ve taken Academy Educational Consulting’s Right Fit online course and understand how to communicate with search firms more productively, conduct searches more thoroughly, and vet candidates more effectively. You’ve hired a search firm and are in the process of preparing for the search consultants to visit campus. So far, so good; however, in my opinion, your preparation should also involve seeking input from administrators, teachers, students, and parents. These groups will be personally affected by the decisions that the new Head of School/Superintendent makes and, therefore, deserve to be a part of the search process.
These key constituencies—administrators, teachers, students, and parents—understand the issues and know the culture of the school or district. Board Members don’t always have this insight. Have these groups help you analyze the current state of your school or district. Know your school’s philosophy, goals, challenges, and policies. Ask for input when establishing your selection criteria: educational background, leadership experience, and personal characteristics. Finally, cultivate each group’s participation throughout the search process. Doing so garners broad-based community support and gets everyone invested in the new leader’s success.
How do you do this? It’s simple: Hold open meetings. Use electronic surveys. Form advisory committees. Have the candidates meet the various constituencies during the on-campus visits. Finally, make sure that Board Members are actively involved in as many of these activities as their schedules will allow.
Choosing a new Head of School or Superintendent is a difficult, time consuming, and expensive task. However, if you provide ways for the constituents in your school/district to be involved throughout the process, your likelihood of hiring a candidate who will both be successful and fit comfortably into your community increases significantly.
Is your school or district tired of dealing with the effects of Head of School/Superintendent turnover? Help is available. To learn more about how to make your next Head of School/Superintendent search a success, visit Academy Educational Consulting here or here.