You're Leaving? Succession and Sustainability in Charter Schools

Kudos to the Center on Reinventing Public Education for its new
report, which sheds much needed light on a critical yet rarely addressed
element of charter schools’ sustainability: school leader succession
planning. Leader turnover in charters is high—71 percent over five
years. Yet less than a quarter of schools surveyed here had substantive
succession plans in place—a necessity for allaying potential leadership
crises. While the author acknowledges that many charters face myriad
daily issues that stretch their leaders in multiple directions, the
uniqueness of each school’s mission necessitates finding a qualified,
like-minded leader. When formulating succession plans, charter school
boards should address the school’s mission, strengths, and weaknesses
and account for emergency and longer term circumstances. Most
importantly, though, all stakeholders, from the school leader to the
authorizer, should be engaged in honest discussion and held responsible
for their share of the process. This report is a must read for charter
practitioners of every sort.

Christine Campbell, “You’re Leaving? Succession and Sustainability in Charter Schools (Seattle, WA: National Charter School Research Project, Center on Reinventing Public Education, November 2010).

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