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Charter Board Partners

10 Things for Board Members to Consider When Hiring New Leaders

October 16, 2017 | by Alicia Robinson

Regardless of how your charter school is organized, chances are that you will at some point have to focus on hiring new senior leadership. Here are some things for you and your fellow board members to consider when the need arises—though some would be useful to prepare for even before you know you need to!

  1. In what ways do you anticipate the focus of your leadership team will change in the next five years from what it’s been for the past five years? Consider things like the transition from startup to sustainability, replication needs, facilities changes, and so on.
  2. How will you involve various stakeholder groups in the process of selecting new leadership?
  3. What are the chances you can consider an internal candidate for the opening? Is there anyone who has been groomed to move into this most senior role?
  4. What leadership competencies are critical or non-negotiable and which are just nice to have?
  5. What competencies related to prior experience, amount of experience, educational background, etc., seem critical but aren’t and actually represent implicit biases that might exclude candidates from diverse backgrounds, including racial/ethnic groups, gender identity, socio-economic status, etc.?
  6. Is your search committee comprised of a diverse set of board members, including those who might be likely to challenge or voice disagreement, or is it just made up of people who will agree with each other?
  7. What are the most important needs of the students and their families that your school serves? How might these needs impact what you look for in a leader?
  8. What does the outgoing leader’s transition plan look like and how might that impact the onboarding process for their successor?
  9. How will you keep faculty, staff, students, parents, and community stakeholders apprised of the search process and confident in a smooth transition?
  10. Why would high-quality candidates want this job? What’s unique, outstanding, or a particular selling point about your organizational structure, model, etc. that will attract the best candidates?


Alicia Robinson is an independent consultant supporting schools, education organizations, and professionals to align talent with equity in education. She works with Charter Board Partners on board member recruitment strategy. 

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