Growing the Next Generation of Administrators

 By Patricia Nugent

Last fall, the editor of our local weekly newspaper wrote an editorial called “Room at the Top.” His premise was that teachers have it much better now than they once did, based on salary, benefits, and job security.

Administrators, the editor wrote, have it worse, based on state and federal mandates, long hours, and lack of job security. Consequently, there’s not much incentive for teachers to “move up the ladder,” resulting in a shortage of viable administrative candidates.

This greatly irked one of our teachers, who promptly replied in a letter to the editor that she felt devalued. She challenged the editor’s assertions that teachers don’t work long hours and can earn up to six figures by the end of their careers. She closed by saying, “The reason most classroom teachers don’t want to be superintendent is because we are teachers. … It has everything to do with a passion for educating students.”

And then the debate fell silent … at least in The Ballston Journal. But within weeks, I had encounters with two people who made me think about how school districts identify and position top-notch employees for possible promotion.

As a director of human resources for the Ballston Spa Central School District in New York state, I know the challenges that school leaders face in this area. I also know that following best practices in succession planning can help us transcend the inherent obstacles.

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