Principles of Good Practice for Leadership Transitions in Episcopal Schools Published

New York, NY — The National Association of Episcopal Schools is pleased to announce the publication of the third entry in its Principles of Good Practice series: Principles of Good Practice for Leadership Transitions in Episcopal Schools. Available as a pamhplet or viewable on this Web site, this title joins the previously published Principles of Good Practice for Furthering Episcopal Identity in Episcopal Schools and Principles of Good Practice for Governance in Episcopal Parish Day Schools as key resources for our schools’ leaders.

The responsibility for selecting the new leader (and honoring the departing one) rests with the board; it is the single most important act the board undertakes, an action that impacts every aspect of the school’s future. Thoughtful planning empowers a school community and sustains the values and spirit that define it. Principles of Good Practice for Leadership Transitions in Episcopal Schools has been written to support Episcopal schools of all sizes and varieties and is intended to:

  • affirm the importance of the Episcopal ethos of the school and its centrality in the search for the new spiritual and academic leader.
  • support the professionals and volunteers of both the church and the school as they seek to create smooth, effective transitions in leadership.
  • assist boards, vestries, dioceses, and search committees in understanding their roles and responsibilities as they embark upon the process to find the new leader who is being called to serve.
  • ensure an impartial, thorough search process that upholds the values and integrity of the institution.

On a practical level, NAES anticipates that the Principles will be brought to bear on important aspects of our schools’ institutional lives, particularly:

  • the Episcopal identity of a school;
  • the search process for a new leader;
  • the orientation processes of boards and, in parish day schools, vestries;
  • the understanding of the various roles and responsibilities of boards, search committees, bishops, and, in parish day schools, rectors and vestries;
  • church-school relationships; and
  • effective communication with the various school constituencies

The development of these Principles began in the fall of 2008, with the first draft reviewed by the NAES Governing Board in April 2009. Episcopal school leaders and head search consultants were invited to offer suggestions for further revisions, and the final draft was presented to and approved by the NAES Governing Board in September 2009.

Principles of Good Practice for Leadership Transitions in Episcopal Schools is divided into the following sections and offers guidance and suggested best practices for each:

  • Preparing for a Leadership Transition Notification—informing and preparing the community
  • Mission—reviewing and understanding the school’s mission
  • Episcopal Identity—reviewing and understanding the school’s Episcopal identity
  • The Search Committee—structure, roles, and responsibilities of the search committee; using a search consultant
  • Change Management—constituent communications during the search and transition
  • The Search Process—selecting, interviewing, and hiring the new leader
  • Introducing the New Leader—announcing and welcoming the new leader while honoring the departing leader
  • Assisting the New Leader in Joining the Community—acclimating the new leader to the community
  • The New Leader’s First Year—supporting and guiding the new head for success
  • Leadership Transition in a Parish Day School: The Search Process and Call for a New Rector—suggested best practices when a parish with a school calls a new rector

Identifying, supporting, and sustaining the continued strength of Episcopal school leaders is a primary mission of NAES. The Association hopes that these Principles will offer practical guidance for all those charged to call new leaders to Episcopal schools: rectors and vestries, boards and search committees, and school search consultants who work with Episcopal schools.

The National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES) is an independently incorporated, voluntary membership organization that supports, serves, and advocates for the vital work and ministry of those who serve over 1,200 Episcopal schools, Early Childhood education programs, and school establishment efforts throughout The Episcopal Church. Chartered in 1965, with historic roots dating to the 1930s, NAES is the only pre-collegiate educational association that is both national in scope and Episcopal in character. The Association offers a variety of services, publications, resources, and conferences consonant with its mission and focused principally on Episcopal school identity, leadership, and governance, and on the spiritual and professional development of school leaders.