When planning and commencing a search for a new Head of School, what are your top five “Do’s” and top five “Don’ts”?
Reply from Cathy Trower:
Keep in mind that planning and commencing a search for a new Head of School is as much about the Board as it is the potential new Head. Savvy Head candidates will have a lot of questions about the Board.
- Discuss the board’s attractiveness as a partner for a new Head by answering:
- What are the essential elements of a strong Head-Board partnership?
- What’s working well in our present Head-Board partnership?
- What’s not working so well? Have we fallen into some bad habits?
- What would our current Head of School say are the Board’s strengths and weaknesses?
- What do we want to preserve about our Head-Board relationship?
- What do we want to change about our Head-Board relationship?
- Discuss and be realistic about the School’s current situation (e.g., financial, competitive position, enrollment patterns, etc.) to be able to work well with the search firm in designing the description / posting.
- Define the skills and expertise the ideal search committee will possess.
- Discuss the most desirable skills and expertise required and what tangible evidence you’d seek.
- Discuss the most desirable attribute, trait, or quality you’d want in the new Head and tangible evidence.
- Delude yourselves about the Board or the School; this is a time to be brutally candid.
- Try to go it alone; hire a search firm.
- Assume that the next Head has to come from the outside; discuss the pros and cons of an internal candidate.
- Create a huge search committee; keep it large enough to have good representation and diversity, but small enough to be nimble.
- Make assumptions about anything; make them explicit.