How Stable Leadership Supports a Successful District

Lena Eisenstein

District leaders create and foster a standard of quality and excellence for local public education. Effective school boards know that the continuity and stability of board members and other district leaders is vital to student and district achievement.

Board members and superintendents with longer terms can set a vision for the district and work diligently to see it fulfilled. This stability allows district leaders to make progress together in their leadership and in their approaches to change and grow the district.

Through longevity in their roles, district leaders can support success within the district by being greater advocates for their community, supporting district staff to impact lower turnover rates, positively impact student achievement, and provide greater growth opportunities and collaborative leadership.

Longevity Impacts District Staff and Student Success

It can be rare for district leaders to maintain their roles for more than a few years. Major efforts on reform or establishing and accomplishing district goals takes great time, effort, and consistency. With new leadership can come new initiatives, and when this occurs every few years it can create burnout and confusion with district staff.

Consistency in leadership supports district goals from leaders and administrators who have the experience to see the needs of the students, staff, and community. District leaders that promote and exemplify stability provide support and encouragement for students and staff.

When district leaders provide stability and consistency it can support lower turnover in district staff. Educators need to feel supported; and when there are administrators and school boards who are invested in the district, and are present and invested in supporting these individuals it can diminish staff turnover.

Research has consistently shown that high rates of turnover in district leadership and in educators negatively impacts student achievement. When there is stability from these roles for students, it can cultivate a district where students receive significant support and security and greater quality in education.

Though they may be fast-paced, successful districts have lower rates of turnover of district leadership. Higher achieving districts are characterized by longer tenures for superintendents and school board members.

Leadership Development Can Cultivate Stability

Studies have shown that effective boards are those who know the importance of stability and who take advantage of development opportunities. Those boards that value professional development are positively correlated with lower dropout rates, a higher percentage of students matriculating to college, and higher test performance than districts with less effectively governed boards.

School boards can demonstrate the importance of these chances for growth by participating in their own professional development and trainings. This benefits the school board in identifying best practices, the qualities of highly effective boards, and to better understand the role of the board. When school boards engage in development, it supports the board in their positions and encourages board stability through their newfound knowledge and skills.

Board development programs provide school board members with focused and structured opportunities to gain knowledge and skills to more effectively govern their school districts, supporting successful and stable school leadership.

When board members take advantage of these opportunities, operations in the school district and board practices (goal-setting, aligning resources, communication, etc.) can increase in efficiency and effectiveness, leading to a more successful and accomplished district. School boards that value stability will leverage opportunities for growth and development to implement practices that support the district and longevity in its leadership.

Stable Leadership Is Collaborative

Stable leadership is exemplified by more than just school board members. The relationship between district administrators and the school board significantly impacts the stability of district leadership and student success.

Many studies have examined the impact the connection between administrators and school boards has on school districts. Those studies have found that a positive relationship between these parties significantly impacts the success of the district. Collaborative governance is a practice can be applied by the school board and administrators to strengthen these connections and encourage better performance for the district.

Research conducted on the relationship between administrators and boards regularly affirms that effective communication is a major factor in successful governance. To cultivate stable leadership, it is vital that board members and district administrators work together to develop a relationship that is positive and focused on the growth and success of local public education.

Technology That Supports Stability

Studies have shown that stable and successful school boards are positively correlated with lower dropout rates, a higher percentage of students matriculating to college, and higher test performance than districts with boards that lack stability and leadership.

The right technology, like Community by Diligent, supports stable leadership through the ability to securely maintain and access pertinent board information from any location or device. School board members can be empowered in their roles through seamless, streamlined access to important materials and documents.

Meeting agendas, past meeting minutes, budgets, and strategic plans are all vital to board performance. Leveraging board software, like Community, school districts are able to ensure that these essential documents are easily accessible by board members, administrators, and the public.

Boards and administrators should have the capability of retrieving these documents from any device or location, securely. Utilizing Community, school boards and superintendents can easily access pertinent materials from any device with internet access, anytime and anywhere. This level of accessibility allows administrators and board members to share materials to make educated and timely decisions for the betterment of the district. These features support an effective board, leading to greater student achievement.

Technology can be a valuable resource that can support school boards in performing their best work and encourage board stability. Technology is key to school boards, and their districts, performing efficiently, effectively, and successfully.

Student success is significantly impacted by stable leadership, so it is imperative for district administrators and school board members to acknowledge and take seriously the role they play in achievement and education. Serving the community as a district leader is an opportunity to directly and positively impact the current state and future of local public education.

Stable leadership is defined by more than just the longevity of tenure. District leaders must provide consistency in tackling issues and concerns for local public education and the community, they must value and support district staff, must take advantage of opportunities for personal and professional development, student achievement should be the main focus for setting goals and making strategic decisions, and leadership must be collaborative to lead the district to success.

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Lena Eisenstein
Lena Eisenstein is a former Manager at Diligent. Her expertise in mission-driven organizations, including nonprofits, school boards and local governments, centers on how technology and modern governance best practices empower leaders at these organizations to serve their communities with efficiency and purpose.