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Talent Management, Educational Leadership, and the MBA Degree

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A resident of Chicago, John Heintz formerly served as assistant superintendent for operations and chief legal officer of Niles Township High School District 219. A frequent presenter and publisher, John Heintz has been a vocal advocate for bringing private sector management techniques to public sector leadership. Earning a master of business administration from the University of Chicago is an increasingly common career path for education leaders like Ron Huberman, Nanciann Gatta, John Heintz and other superintendents, chief executive officers, principals and directors of schools nationwide. The University of Pennsylvania's Mid-Career Doctoral Program in Education Leadership has more in common with Wharton's MBA than any traditional education doctoral program. What is happening?

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Talent Management, Educational Leadership, and the MBA Degree

  1. 1. Talent Management, Educational Leadership, and the MBA Degree John Heintz, Chicago
  2. 2. Introduction • A resident of Chicago, John Heintz formerly served as assistant superintendent for operations and chief legal officer of Niles Township High School District 219. A frequent presenter and publisher, John Heintz has been a vocal advocate for bringing private sector management techniques to public sector leadership. Earning a master of business administration from the University of Chicago is an increasingly common career path for education leaders like Ron Huberman, Nanciann Gatta, John Heintz and other superintendents, chief executive officers, principals and directors of schools nationwide. The University of Pennsylvania's Mid- Career Doctoral Program in Education Leadership has more in common with Wharton's MBA than any traditional education doctoral program. What is happening? Cutting-edge schools that may include traditional public schools, public and private charter schools, newly opening schools and progressive private schools increasingly seek leaders trained outside colleges of education. Improving the lives of children is the driver. Better management leads to improved student achievement, and traditional education leadership programs offer scant evidence of producing those successful outcomes.
  3. 3. MBA Degree • People in leadership positions in education typically earn a master of public administration or even a doctor of education, but few of these individuals have a background in business. Traditional school leaders would likely balk at even comparing a school to a business. The is-a-school-a-business debate is more about politics than reality. Traditional education degrees do a great job emphasizing the political concerns of educational leaders. Progressively-run schools are increasingly aware of their need for outcomes-driven business perspectives when creating and running schools that outperform their peers. As an example, most MBAs offers particularly useful training in talent management. School systems that modernize talent processes have measurable success in improving student achievement. Why don't more schools do this?
  4. 4. Conclusion • Local control of schools has historically allowed local political interests to predominate over best practices. By contrast, businesses cannot let politics come in the way out outcomes. Bringing outcome- driven leadership to schools is important as mountains of evidence pile up showing exactly what children and adults need to learn. An MBA-trained superintendent has spent more time learning how to hire for success than hiring for political gain. An MBA teaches individuals how to clearly define hiring goals and find the best people to meet those goals. School leadership training programs tend to assume that all administrators or teachers can perform critical functions equally well. Talent management strategies need to focus less on politics and more on improving outcomes, specifically with the goal of making student education more effective. MBA programs help give leaders the perspective they need to make such shifts in hiring strategy.

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