You have often heard the phrase that no one wants to follow a Bear Bryant or John Wooden. Yet many schools are facing the transitions of "legends" in their schools. No one feels greater pressure than the Board Chair who gets saddled with this unenviable task. The pressure of honoring the past while preparing for the future can be overwhelming. Northpoint Christian School in Southaven, Mississippi was faced with this issue. David Manley served as a teacher, coach, principal and Head for over 18 years. He was handed the baton from another well respected leader, Paul Young, who served as Head for 19 years. David's investment and legacy at NCS was similar to so many school leaders who have successfully navigated significant challenges over the years and hired most of the faculty and staff. Therefore, the next leader can faced with difficult comparisons and even resistance.
Mr. Shawn Clayton serving as the Board Chairman made these remarks about the challenge, " The board recognized the need to add an experienced educational leader to come along side Mr. Manley to assist in the daily operations as well as provide a solid succession plan for the future. The decision was made by the Board at that time to create the position of Vice President and begin a national search for the right candidate." BMSG is finding that more Boards and Board Chairs are understanding the value of a transition plan which enables a smooth hand off which enables a continuity of school culture and leadership. This approach is rethinking the traditional model of trusting the pool of candidates from a search firm to enable the right "match."
Mr. Clayton shared his thoughts along these lines, " The need for the expertise to conduct a national search for this position was critical and as board chairman I wanted to insure we targeted the very best candidate in educational leadership who would understand our school's culture and mission." He followed by stating the next steps following this decision, " The BowdonMiller team has a long history of understanding Christian education and the importance of leadership. Furthernore, there was a great knowledge of Northpoint and what it stands for. The experience level of being past administrators and the knowledge of how Christian schools operate gave the level of confidence that this team was the perfect fit to conduct our candidate search for Vice President."
Finally, Mr. Clayton described his view of the process and interactions with BMSG, " The BowdonMiller team me with me on multiple occasions discussing exactly what we were looking for in a candidate and then set for with creating a process that was consistent in order to evaluate each candidate equally. BowdonMiller prepared a timeline of how the process should progress and assisted in keeping us on track with our goal of completing the process with the right candidate identified. BowdonMiller was instrumental in our success of naming a Vice President on April 1, 2016."
The Northpoint story continues as Mr. Clayton and the Board also engaged BowdonMiller to provide additional consulting services to develop and support a specific plan of action for thetransition between the President and Vice-President as well as engaging BMSG to enhance the role of the Vice-President with the development of a Strategic Plan. We know that this time of year brings change in leadership at many schools. We would love to develop an approach to support your school if you are beginning the process of preparing for leadership transition.