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School Management Tips and Tools for New Incoming Day School Leadership (Part I)

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Over the past several months, an increasing number of new incoming Heads of School and Yeshivot have contacted me in order to solicit my thoughts, suggestions and counsel regarding a wide range of pressing Jewish day school management, administrative and leadership issues, concerns and challenges.

As a former day school and yeshiva principal, head of school and current executive director and coach, I have been fielding these inquiries and brief consultations for years. This year however, these inquiries appear to be far more prevalent and frequent than in prior years; and with far greater levels of interest and at times urgency. This may be be due in large measure to the increased number of relatively new incoming senior administrators who are now assuming these positions, and a select number of administrators who were recently promoted out of the classroom into senior day school/yeshiva administrative posts, without any prior exposure to serious administrative, leadership or management training.

As a side, it is important to note that on a national level, the volume of Head of School and Principal vacancies are beyond overwhelming. To be sure, to date, there are currently select Jewish Day schools and Yeshivot that they still do not have permanent professional leadership at the helm of their respective institutions – a reality which can eventually have a profoundly adverse impact on these institutions.

When sharing these inquiries and concerns with close colleagues, many of them urged me to share these conversations and inquiries in writing. In doing so, they felt that many others would also benefit from a brief school management “tips and tools” read. Ergo, this blog.

The following are select school management tips and tools resulting from these interactions. To the experienced Head of School or Principal, many if not most of these tools and tips are standard practice and obvious. But, reality indicates that for many new and novice incoming Heads of School or Principals, these school management procedures and protocols are not at all familiar. Remember, these are school leadership and management concerns, skill-sets and insights which are hardly ever taught in graduate school or by attending seminars, webinars or conferences, but rather through hands-on experience in the trenches. We also must be mindful that most new senior professionals were never exposed to leadership induction programs, nor did ever have the luxury or good fortune of being paired with an executive coach, shadow and/or were never exposed to a leadership succession plan or transition experience.

Select School Management Tips, Tools and Protocols (Part I)

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Administrative Staff and Faculty Meetings:

Administrative staff and faculty meetings should always begin with either a D’var Torah and/or with words of chizuk (inspiration). Try not to convene faculty meetings in order to solely address administrivia. Administrative policies, protocols and procedures are best communicated through email, unless they require extensive staff and faculty discussion or deliberation. Always be mindful of your faculty’s time – use time spent at these meetings wisely.

There is........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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