Find the Fit

We hear a lot about “fit” when it comes to head of school searches. Schools are seeking the right fit in their next head of school, and aspiring candidates also are seeking the right fit for their values and skill set. But what does that really mean? How does a candidate know what the right fit is? Don’t all schools want a head of school who loves children? What can a candidate infer when a school’s desired qualification for the next head is a sense of humor?

Author and Harvard Professor Michael D. Watkins cites three main reasons for transition failures: technical, political and cultural. Avoiding these transition traps isn’t a given, and good coaching can help candidates identify areas of strength, areas for growth, and to set clear goals.


Begin with a personal assessment. NBI, review of resume, identifying strengths and successes. Creating a story. Examining deeply where a candidate finds energy in his or her work. Acknowledging areas for growth and how to approach them in his or her career, but also in an interview.

Review potential opportunities. Research characteristics of various schools and opportunities to identify areas of fit. Probe the non-negotiables.