In developing this guiding document, SAIS consulted with heads and other key school leaders who have recently experienced a leadership transition. They were asked to review existing items and contribute additional items from their transition experience. This will be an evolving checklist for schools planning or working through a head’s transition.


  • Establish with the incoming head their preferred methods of communication for email, phone, and appropriate hours to contact.
  • Coordinate meetings between outgoing and incoming heads.
  • Schedule on campus meetings with key school leaders, board, parents’ association, and community members during the transition period. If the board has named a transition committee, support their efforts.
  • Share current policy manuals or electronic resources.
  • Manage the new head’s calendar to ensure every meeting has a clearly defined purpose with names and positions of those attending each meeting.
  • Coordinate hosting of head’s spouse or partner and/or family when needed, working with a transition committee when applicable.
  • Develop a monthly one-page reminder to highlight meetings and events, especially those unique to the school.
  • Review important dates as early as possible.
  • Coordinate with technology department to obtain new email address, laptop, mobile phone, software, and web-based program access for the new head.
  • Coordinate with facilities department for access to the school grounds including keys, gate and alarm codes, badge, etc.
  • Complete SAIS substantive change report.
  • Update listings and contact information in other membership associations and community organizations.