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Components of Overlapping



Any plan of a school board to overlap the incoming and outgoing superintendents is bound to be complex. Nonetheless, successful succession plans share a handful of basic characteristics or requirements, according to school leaders who have been involved in this distinctive form of leadership transition.

Their suggestions for why and how it can work include:

A lack of drama. The outgoing superintendent is not being forced out, leaving under a cloud or departing on short notice. Usually, it’s a planned retirement.

Veteran leadership. Both the board of education and the outgoing superintendent need to be confident and assured, particularly in their shared vision and long-term goals. That comes with experience.

Financial wherewithal. Overlapping transitions often require paying two people for essentially the same job for a defined period.

Trust and transparency. Both must exist in abundance. From the board to the incoming superintendent to the community, everybody must understand and support a well-conceived plan and believe it will be carried out in good faith.

Communication. See trust and transparency. Talk a lot.

Effort. Every transition plan suffers unforeseen glitches and distractions. People must be committed to resolving issues and getting past the rough spots.


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