Senior consultant Mike Mersky is holding two sessions for aspiring heads of school.Read More
An inspired and informed board knows that it must be disciplined to move the school forward.
It must understand its role and its partnership with the administration of the school. Collectively and individually, board members must discharge their responsibilities constructively and objectively and in the best interests of the entire school.
Our job is to help bring proven techniques and best practices to each board. We know that different schools are in different stages of governance development, and we customize our governance and board support work for each school. Our team members all have deep experience in all kinds of situations in both U.S.-based and international schools. If you have any issue related to governance, from board-head relationships, to evaluation, to strategic planning, to board and committee configuration and structure, we can help.
Services we can provide include:
- Governance and board development
- Dynamic strategy services
- Certified executive coaching
- Needs assessment
- Board and head evaluation and goal setting
- Mission, marketing, and messaging
- Transition services
Governance and Board Development
Our fresh set of eyes—informed by a deep understanding of good governance—allows us to first understand where you are, then help you decide where you want to be, and finally work with you to devise a path from here to there. There are essential principles of good practice that are time honored and have proven, even in this rapidly changing landscape, to be worthwhile. Even the best boards can get better, and even the best schools sometimes have boards that can use help.
Dynamic Strategic Services
We believe that an outcomes-focused, flexible approach is far better than a “canned” process, when paired with a system that assigns accountability for results, metrics for success and expectations for timelines. While the basic steps of an inclusive information-gathering process and a representative committee deciding among options remain central to getting good buy-in for the strategic priorities, each project must adapt to meet the outcomes and the timetable for each school.
Certified Executive Coaching
Leading schools is complicated. Those who lead (heads, trustees, administrators) need all the support available in navigating the many challenges and opportunities before them. Through ICF-certified coaching, we offer guidance in personal and professional growth, strategic thinking, team building, conflict management, and change management. In building self-awareness, leaders leverage strengths in finding paths to success for themselves and their schools.
Sometimes, it’s unclear to a school what it needs. By asking us to come in and talk with people, ask the right questions, and provide honest and insightful feedback, a school can often avoid charging headlong down the wrong path. Most schools see their trees very well but may need an informed, experienced and objective outsider to provide a perspective that will help them see the forest as well.
Board and Head Evaluation and Goal Setting
Good evaluation must start with mutually agreed-upon goals against which performance can be measured. Not only does this help a head understand his/her objectives, but it also forces the board to get on the same page and speak with one voice. By keeping it simple, and focusing the evaluation on those vital few items that really matter, evaluation can be more effective, and can also form the basis for the next year’s goals.
Mission, Marketing, and Messaging
Today, every school must be crystal clear about who they are, and who they aren’t; who they serve and who they don’t. They must define themselves not by how they go about educating students, but rather by the student outcomes they produce. It takes discipline and an objective outsider to help a school articulate a mission that is unique and compelling, outcomes-oriented and inspiring.
As expectations often run high during a transition, having an outside consultant is essential to anticipating potential issues and guiding the transition chairs to respond with sensitivity and attention to detail. Each school is unique, but the patterns that emerge during transitions are similar. The strongest schools strive to be pro-active rather than re-active, and protecting this new human asset is certainly worth the investment. Every move is symbolic, and it’s important to develop support in what is inevitably an ambiguous period.
Most heads and administrators would cite the presence of a mentor in their development as a key to their professional progress. But not everyone has access to a mentor that can provide adequate time and attention. With more highly successful former heads than any other firm — all with experience as both mentees and mentors — we have the right mentor to provide advice, guidance, and appropriate confidentiality at any stage of one’s career.