"The data are quite clear that personality and leadership are closely connected—who you are determines how you lead."


Because we believe the quote above by Dr. Robert Hogan in Personality and the Fate of Organizations to be true—who you are determines how you leadwe began incorporating personality assessments into our retained search process several years ago.  We chose Hogan Assessments as the most promising tool available.

While Hogan has supported research into the impact of leaders' personalities in various industries, there are no extant personality-assessment studies of independent-school leaders and the organizational implications of their leadership style.

So we decided to conduct one.

In the summer of 2019, we ran the first phase of this study, focusing on the Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI).  Remarkably, 247 heads of school, representing over 40% of our member schools at the time (enough to provide a sound statistical basis for a study), took the HPI, which focuses on people’s normal, day-to-day personality.  While the aggregate data is in itself compelling, we also interviewed 14 heads of school who exhibited either very high or very low scores on each of the seven HPI scales in order to better understand and illustrate what these personality traits look like in action.

We have published the results of Phase I research in the fall of 2020.

We plan to conduct the second and third research phases in the springs of 2021 and 2022, respectively.


Each week we will publish a report that includes a main topic and a special topic.  The main topic dives deeper into one of the seven Hogan Personality Inventory scales and will include the head of school interviews.  The special topic explores some of the personality differences between demographic groups.  Though there is often a loose tie between the main topic and the special topic, they are not necessarily inherently related.

Introduction to Phase I

Adjustment | Generational Differences

Ambition | Age at First Headship

Sociability |  Size of School Budget

Interpersonal Sensitivity | Gender

Prudence Education Attainment

Inquisitive Number of Headships

Learning Approach | Path to Headship

Conclusion to Phase I

Search Expertise

Jamie Estes and the ST Search Team have conducted over 140 successful leadership searches for independent schools around the South in recent years.

As we refined our search process, it became clear that schools value personality assessments as a part of the process.  We use the sophisticated insights and rich descriptive language offered by Hogan to help integrate the disparate components of a search into a cohesive whole.  They help us translate performance objectives into personality traits needed to achieve these objectives, and with this framework, we screen candidates and guide search committees more effectively, efficiently, and productively than ever.

Jamie Estes has undertaken advanced levels of formal Hogan training so that we may incorporate these tools into our process.

Seeking new leaders or administrators?  Call us.  You need an experienced search team with the most discerning process available.

Contact Jamie Estes at 434-295-9122 or Jamie.Estes@SouthernTeachers.com

Jamie Estes
  • Southern Teachers not only provided our school with the personal attention and focus on details that we were hoping for with a search firm, but they listened to our needs and brought us exceptional candidates that will impact our institution for years to come!

    Steve LovejoyHouston, TX


  • At each juncture in my career, I have reconnected with Southern Teachers. They are unique among teacher agencies in that they commit time and resources to knowing candidates and building partnerships with them.

    Marie Reed Charlottesville, VA


  • Southern Teachers is one of the easiest placement organizations I have worked with. Your staff is accessible, supportive, and sustains a high level of engagement. Your website is easy to navigate and the video introductions of candidates are a real plus.

    Garhett WagersHouston, TX


  • Southern Teachers has been a great long-term partner in our hiring. Taking the time and making the effort to know our school and its culture has built a relationship that has allowed you to send us better candidates.

    DuBose EglestonCharleston, SC


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