Reply To: What's the deal with the head of school?

Reply To: What's the deal with the head of school?

#12299 Reply

DC School HUB

Hi Nancy,

That’s a great question! I’m a former head of school in Maryland, but due to engagements with current schools I’ll leave my name out of the mix.

Each school is different, I know that’s not what you want to hear, but at each school the head wears the hat that is most needed at the time and most needed based on his/her support. For example, many heads came up through the ranks as teachers. They were the charismatic orators who had a knack for leading people. In some cases it was almost the last person to take a step back. Recently, heads with fundraising and financial acumen have taken center stage. No matter the era, the head of school should be known and seen by each student. Depending on the size of the school this might be every day or at least once a week.

So more to your question it depends on the background of the head. A close colleague of mine who came to lead a school after decades of success in the business world is doing very well. Why? Because he knows to stay out of the way of the academic deans, curriculum coordinators, and teachers as it pertains to educating kids. He fully recognizes this is not his area of strength. And those whom he leads greatly appreciates his listening and encouragement when they are passionate about a course of action. He helps them stay the course, manage expectations, and provide feedback about the process, not the product.

In short, the head of school is very important to your child’s long-term success, but not in the way you may think. If the school closes in 2 years because of financial mismanagement, that’s on the head of school who might be the foremost expert on education, but if he/she can’t balance a budget, then it’s new school searching for you.

I do hope this was helpful and I am very open to continuing our dialogue on this board.

Very Sincerely,

A former head of school

  • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by  DC School HUB.
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