A Time of Transition
Passing on the SCSBC Leadership Baton
by Henry Contant, SCSBC Executive Director ◊
Every track coach will tell you that the most important part of a relay race is the baton pass. In fact, the success or failure of all relay teams depend on a proper exchange. If the receiving runner has not started running before the exchange, valuable time and momentum will be lost. If the runner lets go of the baton before it is firmly in the hands of the next runner, the baton will fumble or fall and again cost valuable time and momentum. If the passing runner does not let go of the baton after it’s firmly in the hands of the receiving runner, it will drag the receiving runner and prevent him from freely carrying the baton on the next leg. Coaches continually tell their relay runners, “Remember, it’s all about the baton pass!”
Scripture has many references to “running the race”. Hebrews 12:1b challenges us to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Organizational leadership has often been likened to a relay race. The current leader is entrusted with carrying the vision and direction of the organization on a carefully chosen path, the strategic plan. Yet eventually, every leader must pass the baton to a new leader. How this exchange takes place is crucial. In fact, the success or failure of the organization may, to a large extent, depend on it.
If the new leader has not started to run in preparation to receive the leadership baton, valuable time and momentum will be lost. The organization should not stop, fumble, or suddenly change direction with the appointment of a new executive director. Appropriate training and mentoring needs to take place as the leadership baton is being passed.
In 2010, the SCSBC Board wisely adopted a succession plan for the eventual transition to a new executive director. Now, four years later, that plan is being implemented as the leadership of SCSBC transitions during this 2014-15 school year.
I’m appreciative of the SCSBC Board’s insight in recognizing the need for a significant period of transition. My main role as outgoing executive director is to ensure a healthy baton pass for the SCSBC. Twelve years ago, Dr. Lee Hollaar, the previous SCSBC Executive Director, ensured a similar leadership baton pass for me. At the time, we both realized that the period of transition between leaders is important. As G.K. Chesterton once said, “It isn’t that they can’t see the solution, it’s that they can’t see the problem.” One must understand where SCSBC has come from; comprehend the current issues facing SCSBC and the myriad of complex relationships among our member schools as well as with our educational partners such as the Ministry of Education, FISA, Christian Schools International, Christian Schools Canada, and TWU; and have the wisdom to address new issues facing our schools in the years ahead.
I’m excited about the transitions that are taking place at SCSBC. In addition to the change of executive director, SCSBC has also appointed two new directors of learning, namely Greg Gerber and Darren Spyksma. New leadership will bring fresh passion, insight, and direction to lead the SCSBC forward. Commenting on need for leaders to be change agents, Eric Shinseki stated, “If you don’t like change, you will like irrelevance even less.” Change is needed and will continue to occur at SCSBC. That’s good. That’s necessary.
I’m confident that our new leaders won’t simply implement change for the sake of change, but will initiate change to remain relevant as a service organization for our community of Christian schools in BC. Our new leaders will be listening carefully to you as they seek input from our school communities on a variety of issues in the months ahead. Provide them with your thoughtful and reflective insights so that they can better understand both the current and future needs of our SCSBC schools.
Karen Kaiser Clark put it this way, “Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.” Pray for all the leadership transitions within SCSBC this 2014-15 school year. As leaders, we all desire biblical wisdom as we continue to serve our community of Christian schools in BC.
Henry Contant is the outgoing SCSBC Executive Director. He
will retire from SCSBC at the end of the 2014-15 school year.
Thank you for all the work you have done for the SCSBC and for Christian schools!