Her stress level was off the charts. Frustrated with what they felt was a lack of leadership and too many unfinished plans, some members of the board were boldly raising the stakes.
They wanted a clear plan to grow enrollment and restore confidence in the direction of the school. Or else...
It was May of 2020 and the Coronavirus pandemic was raging. The Leadership Planning Retreat had forced the board and administration to come to terms with the realities of the situation--and it was painful.
Enrollment had progressively declined over the last few years, and the culture of the school wasn't healthy. The data and feedback showed multiple contributing factors:
- Inconsistent quality in personnel and overall delivery of services
- Erratic marketing and communications
- Confused enrollment processes and practices
- Expanded and much improved competition
Everyone recognized that the first three were internal issues and they required immediate attention. The 90-Day Action Plan created at the end of the planning retreat assigned most tasks to the head of school.
The message was clear: "Let's Go!"
Everyone could sense the body language of the head. Overcome by the daunting list of expectations, she went numb with that "deer in the headlights" stare. We quickly reassured her that she is not going to do this alone--we already had the tools and support she needed to achieve these goals and become a stronger leader in this moment.
Immediately we designed a path to build leadership capacity, elevate organizational health, and advance continuous improvement. Her team completed an Enrollment Growth Plan, drafted a Performance Rubric establishing Core Values, and implemented a weekly process of accountability to the goals.
Our monthly executive coaching sessions focused on the three critical measures of education leadership:
1. Executive Presence
2. People Strategy
3. Plan Progress
The transformation was fascinating. She and her team developed a rhythm of leadership with a high level of follow up and follow through on the assigned activities and goals. The faculty and families could see that something was different--they could feel the energy generated from the progress and confidence.
She Became an Overcomer
It's amazing how one little "r" can make such a big difference. This true story of growing from overcome to overcomer is a life changing experience--for all of us.
Even during the pressure of the pandemic, this head of school dug deep inside her soul to muster the courage and commitment to achieve remarkable success.
As of March 1, re-enrollment exceeded 95% and a waiting pool was already required for three grades. The school's Talent Quotient (TQ) increased by 50%, with a unified understanding of the core values and expectations for performance. The culture of the school reflected a high level of clarity and cohesiveness.
Utilizing the training, planning, and support provide through the School Growth Network, she has grown to become an administrative leader that engenders trust and confidence from the board, faculty, families, and constituents.
Witnessing this type of personal and leadership transformation is one of the greatest rewards of this work.
This investment in professional development and leadership support created a new path forward, moving beyond the limitations that previously existed to begin the journey to Sustainable Excellence.
They have completed the first step in a long-term commitment that will change the trajectory of the school and the people who come into this joyful community.