Independent schools rely on strong leadership from the Head and a high functioning Board of Trustees to ensure institutional sustainability especially in challenging circumstances. It makes good business sense to occasionally retain a Trusted Advisor who can partner with the school to give insightful and supportive feedback on crucial issues facing the school. Below is a listing of the services we can bring to your school. Each can be engaged separately, or an affordable package of these services can be developed for maximum benefit.
I. Assessing the Health of the School Culture
Our trusted advisor assignments often begin with the administration of our copyrighted school engagement surveys which assess the level of positive connection of employees and current parents to the school. There is strong evidence that supports how the presence of positive engagement of employees and ‘customers’ contributes to the financial sustainability of the school. Our Engagement Surveys, which have been developed for and tested in independent schools, give invaluable insights to leadership about the health of the school culture as well as how to eliminate barriers to growth and success. The Board and Head receive a full report and analysis that provides objective data and reduces dependence on rumor or anecdotal information about the school culture.
II. Executive Leadership Coaching
Dr. George Conway’s active executive coaching career draws on decades of experience as a senior leader in independent schools, including 24 years as Head of St. Anne’s-Belfield School. He has successfully guided and advised leaders at schools all over the country. His coaching is focused on achieving goals, improving communication and making wise and timely decisions. He adds an experienced voice to the thorniest issues facing modern Heads of Schools. Dr. Conway works confidentially with Heads to ensure discretion and provides 24-hour access to the strategic advice for leaders.
III. Governance Consulting for the Board of Trustees
Our team will design Board educational experiences that uniquely address issues facing the Board. Using case-study methods, we will explore real school issues and find effective ways for Boards to react, respond and be supportive. The focus is always on best-practices in school governance and Dr. Conway brings years of experience working with Board to make the sessions lively, entertaining and productive.
IV. Goal setting, employment contract advice and Head evaluation
The annual evaluation of the Head of School is often a requirement of school accreditation. Building an objective system with realistic and achievable goals for the Head and Board can benefit from an experienced third-party, objective assessment. Creating annual goals, assessment criteria and a timetable that fits both Head and Board are important parts of what IES offers boards. We can also advise Boards about current trends in employment contracts for Heads of Schools.
V. Leadership Team Assessment and Improvement
Forging a unified administrative team is vital to school leadership success. As new members of the team are on-boarded or when a new Head of School is hired, assessing individual administrator strengths as well as team strengths and weaknesses can be an enormous help in administrative team building. Without producing counterproductive anxieties or fears, the LEARNS method of assessment (Leadership, Engagement, Awareness, Results, New Initiatives and Sustainability) gives the entire team insights into how to work together with maximum trust and productivity. The LEARNS method has been specifically developed for independent school administrations and is often used with psycho-metric evaluative tools for maximum insights and specific guidance.
VI. On-going Counsel and Planning
Developing an organic strategic priorities plan that has the flexibility build in to meet the vicissitudes of school leadership is an essential part of best practices in school governance. Dr. Conway will partner with the Board during this time to develop a sustainable financial plan which supports the strategic priorities of the school. But most importantly, this is not “one-off” counsel. Over the course of several months, the implementation of a plan and the support of the work of the Head and Board leadership will ensure the planning is brought to life.