How schools can benefit from regular Interim Heads | Sanje Ratnavale | 6 Min Read

Not all stories are timeless. In fact, only a very few are, and yet there is a self-reinforcing practice at schools to keep repeating the stories of their founders and others. These last 18 months have shown the dangers of not paying attention to what narratives still hold water. The clearest evidence is that independent schools have found themselves at ground zero in the culture wars. The need to look for more context is urgent.

Part of the problem is, as we know, the role of Head of School has significantly evolved over the last 50 years into a visibly distant leader with a small, close constituency of Board Members and administrators. The result has often been a reactive approach to vision and problem-solving. That model is showing major cracks: Heads are asking for more Assistant or Associate Heads, and Boards are parting ways with Heads and looking for one- to two-year Interim Heads. The explosion in Interim Head appointments in the sector at large is alarming, no doubt, but at the same time, at a school level, it’s a major opportunity, for both the school and the next permanent Head.  Why?

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Sanje Ratnavale

Sanje founded OESIS in 2012 and serves as the President of what has grown to become the leading network for innovation at independent schools: the acronym OESIS grew from the initial focus on Online Education Strategies for Independent Schools. He has held senior administrative positions at independent schools including Associate Head of School at a K-12 school for seven years, High School Principal for three years, and CFO for seven years. Prior to making a switch to education, Sanje spent 15 years in venture capital, investment banking, and senior C-level (CEO, COO, CFO) management. He was educated at Christ Church, Oxford University (B.A. and M.A. in Law/Jurisprudence). Sanje is based out of Santa Monica.