Educational leaders and our organizations are often maligned for not ensuring effective leadership succession. A succession plan is the strategy for replacing current leaders as they move out of their positions, ideally with equally capable, well-prepared, and energetic new leaders. Also known as “building your bench,” succession planning requires identifying potential leaders early and committing resources to developing their skills and knowledge before a leadership position becomes available. Emily Douglas’s EdWeek blog post offers great information about effective succession planning, and the District Management Journal’s January, 2014 edition provides a helpful list of succession planning mistakes to avoid.
I’m pleased to report that Arlington Independent School District, a Studer Education partner in Texas, has committed to effectively “building their bench” for both assistant principal and principal positions. In support of the district’s strategic plan goal to “recruit and retain the most effective people by rewarding excellence and providing opportunities for continual growth,” they’ve designed Aspiring Administrator Academies. Dr. Janet Pilcher and Dr. Robin Largue, Studer Education colleagues, have provided on-site seminars and online learning experiences to develop the leadership of selected, highly effective teachers who aim to be the assistant principals and principals of the future. The resources, time, and energy that AISD spends today will pay off in the not-too-distant future, as academy graduates begin to fill assistant principal positions this summer.
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