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Educational leaders and our organizations are often maligned for not ensuring effective leadership succession. A succession plan is the strategy for replacing current leaders as they move out of their positions, ideally with equally capable, well-prepared, and energetic new leaders. Also known as “building your bench,” succession planning requires identifying potential leaders early and committing resources to developing their skills and knowledge before a leadership position becomes available. Emily Douglas’s EdWeek blog post offers great information about effective succession planning, and the District Management Journal’sJanuary, 2014 edition provides a helpful list of succession planning mistakes to avoid.

I’m pleased to report that Arlington Independent School District, a Studer Education partner in Texas, has committed to effectively “building their bench” for both assistant principal and principal positions. In support of the district’s strategic plan goal to “recruit and retain the most effective people by rewarding excellence and providing opportunities for continual growth,” they’ve designed Aspiring Administrator Academies. Dr. Janet Pilcher and Dr. Robin Largue, Studer Education colleagues, have provided on-site seminars and online learning experiences to develop the leadership of selected, highly effective teachers who aim to be the assistant principals and principals of the future. The resources, time, and energy that AISD spends today will pay off in the not-too-distant future, as academy graduates begin to fill assistant principal positions this summer.

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MatarazzoDr. Melissa Matarazzo is a Research Fellow at Studer Education. Dr. Matarrazo began her career as a middle school teacher and assistant principal in Derry, New Hampshire.Prior to joining Studer Education, Dr. Matarazzo served as the Executive Director for Achievement and Accountability in the Charleston County (SC) School District. She has served as a supervisor of teacher interns at the College of Charleston, SC and an adjunct instructor at American International College in Springfield, MA. Follow Dr. Matarazzo on Twitter at @LrngLdr and follow Dr. M’s weekly post “Try This Tip” here.

Check out Pilcher and Largue’s New Habits for New Principals manuscript here and a blog showing results from an aspiring leaders workshop as well as additional blogs focused on leadership and coaching. Interested in some feedback about your district? Try our free District Diagnostic Tool for your organization. Contact us for more information about our stakeholder feedback tools.

Our mission at Studer Education is to provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. Visit us online at http://studereducation.com. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, ranked for the sixth straight year on the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.