"You did a wonderful job as a facilitator, teacher and challenger, developing an effective design, engaging the group, and pushing participants to distinguish the strategic from the merely important, to frame good questions, to imagine and to reaffirm. It was the best board-faculty workshop/retreat we've had in my tenure here."
Mark Segar, Former Head of School
Waynflete School, Portland, ME
"Bruce Shaw established an exceptional record as the successful head. Precious few school consultants possess his depth of experience, his analytic skills, his humor and wisdom. I have turned to him for advice about school problems on numerous occasions. A school would be lucky, indeed, to have his counsel and perspective".
Michael Thompson, Ph.D.
Today's board must exhibit financial acumen, enable the school's development efforts to flourish, think strategically, maintain and develop the plant, provide adequate funds for human resources, and support the head. It must be forward-thinking while still being responsive to the community's needs for stability. Great boards require focus, and so board development is critical. Most important is the need to pause to reflect periodically, difficult in the midst of day-to-day demands with their magnetic lure. Boards need to consider every option for navigating the future. Focused retreats and workshops build knowledge, form alliances and promote engagement.
Insightful planning describes the school's future. An effective design provides guidance to leaders and inspires a sense of possibility for the school community. The potential paths are numerous. The role of the consultant is to help schools coalesce community thinking and motivate constituents to act on behalf of the school's long-term interests. In developing the planning process, the goals are to: a) specify a timetable, b) the role of the planning committee, c) the data needed, and d) the appropriate level of community input in order to establish priorities for the coming years.
Leadership matters, and finding the right head of school or senior administrator can have far-reaching institutional consequences. Working with faculty, administrators and parents, the search committee and the board must position the school for new leadership. Planning for the transition is critical. The time before a major leadership transition presents opportunities to strengthen the school, creating clarity about purpose and direction during the upcoming change. A harmonious progression leads to institutional security and will attract candidates of the highest caliber.
Today's school environment presents complex challenges for school leaders. Multiple constituencies with diverse identities and needs can perplex even the savviest leader. Learning effective communication strategies and employing appropriate leadership styles in varying situations are imperatives. Coaching provides skills that serve the entire school. Schools work best when the full leadership team operatives with a unified vision, requiring trust and the willingness to bridge differences. Coaching centers on how the individual and the team interact to achieve the school's goals over time.