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Best Practices from the Fields of Leadership and Communications

An Entry Plan should contain a series of performance indicators and serve as an element of a comprehensive and quality performance evaluation system, conducted by a school board in the case of the superintendent. An entry plan includes multiple elements and is crafted from the best practices in the fields of leadership and communications. Among the design features most critical, it should be human-centered and focus on equity. Furthermore, it should contain the following elements:

  • An introduction focused on who you are, what you value, and how you got here.

  • Examples of the intelligence, data and insight you will plan to collect to begin learning about the organization and its culture.

  • Evidence of understanding the organization and its needs.

  • An example of the skills, strategies, and tactics you intend to use to effectively communicate your message.

  • A timeline to accomplish your entry plan goals.

When I began my work as the Superintendent of Schools for the William Alvord Unified School District in 2018,  I crafted an entry plan that served a variety of purposes. First, I wanted it to serve as a blueprint for my first few months on the job to ensure I stayed on track and completed a series of tasks that I believed were important to a good start, such as building a relationship with my board and board members, building my team, meeting a variety of key stakeholders, studying certain aspects of the district, and building social capacity in the community.


I also wanted it to serve as a document I can publish so that members of my new community can learn about me and my goals for Alvord Unified. To accomplish that I steered away from too much jargon and eduspeak and focused on big ideas and concepts that spoke to my leadership style and approach to management.


I also wanted it to serve as an example of the quality, thoughtfulness, and thoroughness I expect from my team. I spent many days brainstorming with colleagues before crafting the plan's first draft. Then I re-crafted it based on feedback and input from the many superintendents, teachers, staff members, and academic friends and colleagues I vetted it through. 


Finally, and most importantly, I wanted it to introduce me as a person, separate from my position. To serve that purpose I personalized it and included quotes and other value-based content that provides a window into my heart, if not my soul.


Click on the image of the plan to view it as a pdf or download it. As with all of my documents, you are free to use it as a template or example or just to get some ideas as you design an entry for your next position. Whether you're becoming a principal, assistant principal, director of communications, district-level leader or anything above it, an entry plan is a great way to kick off your tenure.

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