In the end we have had 25 applicants for the role of Principal of Higham Hall. The majority display ‘impressive pedigrees’, a phrase I have been using recently in this context, with professional experiences spanning a number of relevant environments.
What is especially gratifying is that the quality of applicants has been high, with many of those taking an interest in the job being high ranking individuals in their fields. Many are obviously feeling enthused about such a unique position and recognising the significance of the post to Higham. There is, when you look into it, such profesisonal talent out there. OK, not a huge amount with direct experience of an Adult Residential College environment any more (there just aren’t that many left), but plenty with relevant transferable skills and the potential to ensure Higham remains stable and thriving.
Over the past month, I have had the priviledge of speaking to a number of those interested, and have been able to explain the ins and outs of Higham. I have had some really nice conversations along the way. Whilst some people obviously decided that it wasn’t quite right for them, others have followed up with applications offering themselves as candidates. I have not tried to oversell Higham, merely to enlighten potential candidates as to what the job entails and offering some insights into the nature of the beast, as it were. All through this process, I have seen myself as a neutral party, merely a catalyst, with an aim to provide the Trustees with, I guess, a smörgåsbord from which they might pick my replacement. It is, I am pleased to say, a smörgåsbord with plenty of crackers on it! (meant in a positive way. I’ve not come across much cheese.) And before anyone asks, no, there is nobody already lined up for this job – total independence has its advantages, and we have cast our net nationally and internationally.
It is up to Trustees now to examine all the applications received and to tease out those they feel might be best suited to taking on the challenge of being Higham’s next Principal. This is never an easy task, as it is only right that the information presented in each application needs to be given respect and considered against our selection criteria. I know they would hate to let a good fish go too easily, so they are spending time whittling down the shortlist. They realise, also, that the expectations of all Highamites are high, and they want to find someone who will become a true Highamite themselves.
I know that Trustees are taking their role seriously in this matter, as Higham is such a special place to them as well. Interviews are likely to be just after Easter, mid-April. Personally, I’m lookng forward to being able to welcome my successor and start what will be a careful handover, ensuring that they shall have the best chance to take the wheel without stopping the ship.
For now, thank you to all those who helped share the informaiton and also to those who at least considered the job. I know there were a lot of people who did. I wish all the candidates who were good enough to submit an application the best of luck for the rest of the process.