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New Superintendent Transition Toolkit

A new superintendent’s first 100 days are critical to ensuring a smooth, successful K–12 district leadership transition. While the daily demands of superintendents have never been easy, turnover is higher than ever, after three years of tumultuous crisis management. In fact, 49% of superintendents left their jobs between March 2020 and September 2022 across the 500 largest U.S. school districts.  

With their departures, new leaders are stepping in and will grapple with many of the same hardships, including the strains of pandemic recovery, staffing shortages, student safety and mental health concerns, budget planning, and political polarization. And they’ll do it all while trying to establish themselves in and learn about their new communities. 

Facing so many challenges, how can new superintendents make the most of their first 100 days?

Hanover’s 2023 New Superintendent Transition Toolkit provides immediate resources and support to help leaders navigate their first months on the job so they can:  

  • Build positive relationships 
  • Use data to inform planning 
  • Craft a common vision for moving the district forward

“Thoughtful entry planning is critical for new superintendents, but if it’s not informed by research-based best practices, they may not be as effective in securing stakeholder confidence and buy-in.” 

The Role of a School Superintendent

As the “face” of the district, a superintendent is considered responsible for both the successes and failures of the organization. The superintendent’s role is broad and requires an exceptional skill set to work well with people from different interest groups, both inside and outside the district. 

Always nimble, a new superintendent must deftly manage the politics of the job as they adapt to new board members, shifts in state funding, and changes in the district community — all while not sacrificing the district’s vision. The superintendent is charged with making tough, bold decisions while taking a collaborative approach rather than a confrontational one. 

A district's superintendent transition is easier when the incoming leader has a clear plan for the first 100 days

Make the first 100 days count

Ensure the smoothest leadership transition for your K–12 school district.

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