Principles of Good Practice: Heads of School

View this PGP as a PDF file.

Preamble: The following principles provide common ground for interaction between independent school professionals and their many constituents (parents, students, colleagues at other schools, and the public). The NAIS Principles of Good Practice for member schools define high standards and ethical behavior in key areas of school operations to guide schools in becoming the best education communities they can be, to embed the expectation of professionalism, and to further our sector’s core values of transparency, excellence, and inclusivity. Accordingly, membership in NAIS is contingent upon agreement to abide by the spirit of the PGPs.

Overview: The primary responsibility of the head of an independent school is to carry out the school’s stated mission. While there are profoundly different ways to accomplish this goal, NAIS offers the following
principles as guideposts for all heads engaged in this rewarding, complex job.

Principles of Good Practice:

  1. The head works in partnership with the board of trustees to establish and refine the school’s mission; articulates the mission to all constituencies — students, faculty and staff, parents, alumni/ae, and the community; and supports the mission in working with all constituencies.
  2. The head oversees the shaping of the school’s program and the quality of life in the school community.
  3. The head manages the school in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
  4. The head establishes an effective manner of leadership and appropriately involves members of the administration and faculty in decision making.
  5. The head is responsible for attracting, retaining, developing, and evaluating qualified faculty and staff.
  6. The head is accessible, within reason, and communicates effectively with all constituencies.
  7. The head is responsible for financial management, maintenance of the physical plant, strategic planning, and fundraising.
  8. The head ensures that every element of school life reflects the principles of equity, justice, and the dignity of each individual.
  9. The head is alert to his or her role within the broader networks of schools, school leaders, and the community.
  10. The head works to ensure that the principles of good practice of all school operations, especially those of admission, marketing, faculty recruitment, and fundraising, demonstrate integrity at all levels of the school.
Download a PDF of the complete set of NAIS Principles of Good Practice.