A Consulting Engagement With an Educational Senior Administrative Team

John C. Littleford has led the education and business consulting firm Littleford & Associates for the past two decades. Serving the needs of diverse clients, from private companies to educational institutions, he provides guidance in areas such as administrative and faculty compensation structures, and strategic planning. In one recent appointment, John C. Littleford was retained by an international client that he had worked with extensively over the years, and for whose board he had provided “best governance practices” training.

In this particular assignment, he worked with 10 senior administrative team members representing several countries, including the UK, the United States, and Australia. The workshop began with an in-depth discussion of global trends in board composition and head tenure, as well as matters of board/chair and head/board relationships. Mr. Littleford also discussed the board’s key responsibilities in managing constituents, and the ways in which “unhealthy behaviors” can arise from board members’ additional roles as alumni and parents. Through gaining intimate understanding of the roles and considerations of heads and board members, these senior team leaders gained new insight into how to structure their board and head engagements in ways that benefitted the school as a whole.


AISNE Provides Development Opportunities for New England Educators

Since 1994, John C. Littleford has led Littleford & Associates, a Louisiana-based firm that provides customized management consulting services to companies, schools, and nonprofit organizations around the world. Recently, John Littleford presented a full-day conference on board governance to the Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE).

As an organization dedicated to improving the independent schools it serves, AISNE strives to create opportunities for teachers to enhance their professional practice. In fact, one of AISNE’s main service offerings is its professional development program, which provides individuals working in AISNE schools with a range of events and activities that are designed to improve instructional techniques and increase teacher understanding of important educational concepts.

AISNE’s professional development program also ensures that high-quality professional development opportunities are available within its member schools’ communities. In doing so, AISNE saves schools and educators both the time and money that is often spent attending national events.

Each year, the organization offers around 40 different professional development events, including webinars, workshops, and conferences. Currently, AISNE has a number of development opportunities scheduled for the upcoming months, covering topics ranging from curriculum and diversity to technology and school governance.

John Littleford- The 2014 NAPSEC Annual Leadership Conference

As the proprietor of Littleford & Associates, John Littleford oversees an international consultancy that has improved the operations of numerous schools, corporations, and non-profit organizations. A regular speaker at industry conferences, John Littleford appeared at the National Association of Special Education Centers (NAPSEC)’s Annual Leadership Conference in 2014. At the gathering, John C. Littleford discussed “The Opportunities and Pitfalls of Leadership Succession Planning” and “Strategic Verses: Operational Governance.”

Held from January 19th to 22nd, the 2014 NASPEC Annual Leadership Conference took place at the Hotel Montelone in New Orleans. The multi-day event allowed guests to visit exhibitors representing architecture firms and insurance companies and to network with colleagues in the education field. Some of its social events included a wine tasting reception, a golf tournament, and an awards luncheon.

The primary purpose of this symposium is to inform attendees about the latest developments in the field. Each day, speakers from different areas of expertise hosted discussions about important issues affecting this industry. Topics ranged from bullying and the national school lunch program to emergency operation plans for high schools and the benefits of emerging technology.

To register for the 2015 conference and learn about other upcoming events, visit www.napsec.org.

John C. Littleford – Executive Searches with Littleford and Associates

For more than 45 years, John C. Littleford has dedicated himself to improving independent schools throughout the world. Since 1992, John Littleford has served as a full-time consultant with Littleford & Associates. Among his many responsibilities, he performs executive searches for non-profit organizations, including cultural programs, zoos, and charitable foundations.

Non-profits groups looking for new executives often consult Littleford & Associates for guidance to help them find leaders that suit their expectations and culture. The staff recognizes the difficulty of this challenge, as non-profits must consider organizational structure as well as political concerns among the entity’s current members. Additionally, the firm understands compensation and safe harbor matters across a myriad of non-profit organizations.

When hired, Littleford & Associates embarks on an in-depth analysis for the client. John Littleford interviews its constituents so he can learn about their needs and recommend the best candidate for the open position. Rather than relying on a database of resumes, the Firm searches nationally for talented executives who believe in the client’s mission. Additionally, the Firm interacts with new hires and their families throughout the transition process to make sure the transition is smooth. However, due to the comprehensive nature of the process, Littleford & Associates only accepts between three to five of these assignments annually.

Independent Schools – Board of Trustees

by John Littleford

As guardians of the school’s mission, a strong, stable, and wise board of trustees that understands its role ensures the ongoing health and well-being of an independent school. In consulting to hundreds of boards on the topic of healthy board governance, Littleford & Associates has identified these key traits of the ideal board member (in addition to adherence to the NAIS Principles of Good Practice):

• Wisdom

• A strategic outlook—not a narrow-minded, self-serving agenda

• Commitment and loyalty to the school’s mission

• Enthusiasm

• Availability to serve when needed without micromanaging

• Having no conflict of interest Along with identifying and recruiting new board members, the important Committee on Trustees or Nominating Committee builds stability by making sure that too much or too little turnover does not occur on the board. Excessive board turnover results in instability and a lack of institutional memory, while too little turnover creates stagnancy. Recruiting, orienting, training, evaluating, disciplining and removing (if necessary) trustees are extremely important in maintaining a mission-focused board that helps to guide independent schools in positive strategic directions.

Littleford & Associates Services

by John C. Littleford

As Founder of Littleford & Associates, I provide management consulting to independent and international schools, nonprofit organizations, and other companies. At Littleford & Associates, we conduct executive searches for heads and interim heads of schools and nonprofit organizations. When working with these institutions, we strive to gain an in-depth knowledge of the culture unique to each one. As a result, the services my company provides are finely tailored to meet individual needs. This approach also draws upon Littleford & Associates’ extensive knowledge of school head and nonprofit CEO compensation packages, gained over the course of more than two decades in the business.
I always emphasize to clients that Littleford & Associates does not simply offer placement services. Our executive searches are highly tailored to the strengths and challenges of each organization. This is why we take on a maximum of five searches per year, ensuring that each client gets the utmost attention, counsel and ongoing contact throughout the entire process. We screen candidates carefully for the correct fit with the organization. As Senior Partner of Littleford & Associates, I do not delegate these highly important tasks to other members of the Firm. This has been the case for more than 20 years.

One of the key tools I offer institutions searching for a CEO or head is an extensive database of experienced individuals qualified and willing to serve on either an interim or permanent basis. I do not draw constantly on the same “stable” of candidates. I advise the institution on the candidate screening, interview, and selection processes in a way that is sensitive, constructive, and effective. I guide the client in designing an appropriate compensation package to land the candidate of choice and that takes into consideration both the needs of the candidate and his/her family and the client’s budget. All stages of the executive search process are handled with absolute confidentiality and discretion. For further information on the range of services offered at Littleford & Associates, visit our website at www.jlittleford.com.

Mission-Based Teacher Compensation

Establishing a faculty compensation system and salary delivery method is a challenge for any independent or international school especially since the goals of teachers, boards, and heads are not always in sync. The first step is to assess the present health of the faculty culture and the basic level of trust placed in the school’s administration. This serves as the context for all future decisions about faculty compensation going forward. The next step is to analyze the current salary system and importantly, the underlying message that it sends to faculty. What is the basic philosophy behind the school’s current system and why did the system evolve in the way that it did? Also, does the system benefit any specific age group or experience level above another? Next, it is important to scrutinize the ways in which some faculty members attempt to maneuver around the current compensation system in order to earn extra pay. These include taking on titles that boost pay but may not really represent additional work that is commensurate with the extra pay: stipends for additional responsibilities (small and large); and tutoring (a “cottage industry” in some schools). After all of these contributing factors are considered, it is time to plan for future changes in compensation structures and delivery systems. The faculty compensation planning process should involve faculty members, board members, and administration. Discussions should never push towards a preconceived outcome but instead, work towards change that satisfies the needs and goals of all parties.