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.


  • Assemble a collection of financial and budgeting information during the months of the transition and organize the information by category. Consult with new head to discuss what has been collected and identify additional specific information that would be helpful.Determine if and how the new head might be involved in budgeting for the upcoming school year.
  • Describe the school’s current financial health. Refer to SAIS Financial Wellness Indicators.
  • Identify risks and liabilities.
  • Detail current operating expenses. Where is money spent and why? Where is it not spent?
  • Identify programs, projects, or maintenance that have been put on hold.
  • Set expectations of the business office and determine how much financial detail to present. Does the new head prefer the 101 or more advanced version?
  • Provide both periodic reports and long-term financial and facilities plans.
  • Discuss long-term financial strategies and challenges for the school.
  • Outline the school’s investment policy and how endowment is used.
  • Identify both short- and long-term cash flow. Are there critical points throughout the year that must be closely monitored?