Building stakeholder support eases school, district leadership transitions
Good communication about the hiring process and expectations of everyone involved leads to smooth transitions in school leadership, according to District Administration.
Leadership transitions involve a slow organizational process with the ultimate goal of building trust, respect and support for new leaders so the district or school can move forward successfully.
By investing time in the beginning of the process, school and district leaders can make a smooth transition out of what is often perceived as a challenging, sometimes painful, experience.
Since the average tenure of school superintendents in urban areas is 3.2 years, school districts face the prospect of leadership transitions fairly often. While such swift turnovers can create instability in school districts, that impact can be lessened by good communication during the transition and by a unified vision throughout the district.
Effective school board leadership can aid this transition. School boards are locally rooted in the community and have a greater stake in the long-term success of the school district. When well-informed and working effectively, school boards can create a sense of continuity in the district, even though the CEO may change. Though new superintendents will inevitably desire to leave their mark on a school district, school boards can help ensure that effective changes will be sustainable through future administrations.
Smooth transitions also involve strategies and resources to help ease new superintendents into their roles. Good communication with teachers, staff, media and members of the community about the reasons for choosing a new superintendent can help superintendents get the support they need to succeed. However, wise superintendents will already be looking at the talent pipeline within the district to find their own possible replacement who is supportive of the new initiatives he or she has put in place. This situation recently occurring in North Carolina in Edgecombe County Public Schools when a superintendent resigned and his associate superintendent stepped neatly into place to help bring ideas they jointly pursued to fruition.
- District Administration How schools manage leadership change