CEO Notebook

Jeff Shields

Jeffrey Shields, FASAE, CAE

President and CEO
Twitter: @shieldsNBOA

3 Leadership Trends That Will Benefit Your Independent School

From Net Assets NOW, February 13, 2018. Read past issues of CEO Notebook.

What leadership trends will have the greatest impact on independent schools in the months ahead? Three items on a list recently compiled by the Forbes Coaches Council (top business and career coaches) spotlighted for me not only where our schools need to go in this increasingly competitive educational market, but also how we are in some ways already taking the lead. I hope you’re as emboldened by them as I am.

Encouraging All Team Members to Be Brand Ambassadors

This is consistent with conversations I continue to have with independent school leaders across the country. It is no longer enough to rely on a great website, social media platform or direct mail campaign to communicate the value of your school’s educational program. In today’s competitive market, it is critical that everyone associated with your school succinctly and consistently share what the school uniquely provides better than the alternatives do. And I do mean everyone, from the head of school and admissions staff to faculty, parents, trustees, students and the business officer.

Making the Organization a Truly Customer-Centric Business

This concept goes hand in hand with my latest Net Assets “Projections” column. Our competitive positioning as providers of a premium-level service hinges on our ability to align world-class education, world-class business operations and world-class customer service. Every day, our faculty are on the front lines delivering education as well as interacting with parents, influencing the annual decision to return or not. Likewise, every member of your faculty and staff — from the front-door receptionist to the academic leaders to the administrative leaders in advancement, admissions and beyond — must embrace the role of service provider. By providing parents with a high level of service and responding to their concerns appropriately, you will reinforce their decision to continue at your school.

Proactively Elevating and Retaining Women Leaders

Finally, independent school leaders are uniquely able to support women in leadership roles within our schools and within our faculty and administration. For example, while women comprise only a little more than 12 percent of chief financial officers in the for-profit sector, women serve in CFO roles in more than 55 percent of NBOA’s member schools. This is just one example of independent schools getting it right. Let’s strive to get it right in every department, demonstrating proudly that independent schools are the place for women educators and administrators to flourish.

Jeff Shields

Jeffrey Shields, FASAE, CAE
President and CEO

Jeff has been NBOA's president and CEO since March 2010. Prior to joining NBOA, he spent almost 10 years at the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), serving most recently as senior vice president and chief planning officer. An active member of the American Society of Association Executives, Jeff earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation in 2002 and was selected as an ASAE Fellow in 2008. He currently serves as a trustee for One Schoolhouse and Georgetown Day School in Washington, DC.

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