School Leadership Pivotal to Enrollment

It’s never been more clear to me until now. One of the primary reasons for enrollment instability in a school is the leadership itself. Let me explain.

Recently, I conducted several focus groups with some leading independent schools. At one school, a significant pattern became clear in the meetings as we examined the enrollment challenges of the school — leadership. Parents, board members, faculty and staff all expressed concern over the leader of the school in his inability to provide a clear and compelling vision and strategic plan for the future. Because of these concerns with the head of school, the school was experiencing many challenges including its enrollment.

In contrast with the other schools, the issue of the school’s leadership was not even an issue. In fact, the school’s leader was a signficant reason for the enrollment stability, growth and overall positive feeling on the campus. These schools were benefitting from exemplary leaders.

One of my favorite books on leadership is by Kouzes and Posner, The Leadership  Challenge. Through their extensive research they observe five key leadership practices of exemplary leaders:

  1. Model the Way
  2. Inspire a Shared Vision
  3. Challenge the Process
  4. Enable Others to Act
  5. Encourage the Heart

If you want to develop a plan to grow your school’s enrollment, you must begin with the leadership. Are these five practices demonstrated by your head of school, leadership team and board? Does your school have an exemplary leader?

If not, then it’s likely that your school’s enrollment will be instable and the viability of your school’s future may be in question. School leadership is pivotal to the enrollment and it should be your goal to have exemplary leaders.

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