Meeting the Challenge on the Spot

John Littleford, Senior Partner, provides assistance via telephone, webcam or teleconference to nonprofit boards and heads/CEO's in need of routine or immediate counsel on a wide range of topics that could become a "crisis" if not addressed quickly and appropriately.
For “On The Spot” assistance, contact Mr. Littleford at John@JLittleford.com or at 1-800-69-TEACH (1-800-698-3224)

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Meet John Littleford


John Littleford

+1-800-698-3224


Mr. Littleford has his B.A. degree from Dickinson College, Critical Language Degree from Princeton University, M.A. from Harvard University and a Certificate of Advanced Study from Harvard University.

Recent News


August 31, 2017

How Political Capital Affects Executive Decision Making and School Culture

Many heads, whether first-time, experienced, newly arrived or longer term, make the mistake of taking on an overly ambitious list of goals. Sometimes boards strongly encourage […]
August 31, 2017

Mission Based Compensation: THE Key to Financial Sustainability

Financial sustainability cannot be discussed only in terms of enrollment demand, market pricing, endowment or other assets. It must be viewed in a larger context including: […]
May 13, 2017

The Search…The Transition… and then the Succession

Introduction  Too often boards (and heads) focus on the excitement and challenge of the search process, and very few boards pay much attention at all to […]

What people are saying!

  • Because you lived with us for a week each of the past two years, we are working through a vivid agenda for change. You have been central to trustee development. Listening in on board member conversations reveals they are using the vocabulary of a high performing board seeking the most critical, generative discussions focused on the school’s future. Just as they have always been clear on their roles and responsibilities, our board members want to govern with positive consequence.
    Mark E. Ulfers
    Head of School, American School of Paris
  • John has been on campus multiple times this school year leading focus groups, interviewing key stakeholders leading governance training sessions with the PTA and the School Board, and guiding us through a strategic planning process as well as a compensation review and improvement process. All in all, John has met with more than 300 ASFM stakeholders and has enabled us to develop and launch our new 5-year strategic improvement plan. Throughout the entire year, I have only heard positive comments about John’s work, his style, his maturity. his professionalism, his knowledge and his ability to quickly and carefully develop a clear and accurate picture of our school and a plan for the future.
    Michael Adams, E.D.
    Superintendent, American School Foundation of Monterrey, A.C., Mexico
  • I wanted you to know how much I appreciated working with you, once again, on compensation issues at the Chapin School. I am not at all surprised by the value you brought to the conversations with our trustees, as I experienced the same level of professionalism when we worked together years ago at The Columbus School for Girls. Your database is invaluable in providing trustees with meaningful comparisons. Our trustees appreciated your vast expertise, particularly as you brought both a national and international understanding of all aspects of the work we engaged in together. Your efficiency and discipline in leading the meetings ensured that all voices were heard and that all points of view were able to be considered.
    Patricia Hayot
    Head of School, Chapin School, New York, NY
  • It’s a week after your quite excellent seminar on Governance with our trustees, and the effects of your salutary comments and observations, based on your years of independent school experience – both as a Headmaster and consultant – and your simply extraordinary and unique international perspective, are still being felt. I have had several conversations with my trustees since that time, as has my Board chair, and they all echo the same sentiment: that the time they spent with you (and one another) discussing governance practices and working through case studies was the best trustee preparation that they had ever received. They truly enjoyed the learning. You always come prepared. You are the essence of professionalism: crisp, knowledgeable, attentive, and appropriately assertive. You make an impact, and reorient members of a Board to focus on the most important element of any independent school – the mission. You also help Board and Management clarify their roles in a school, something that can get dangerously muddied without regular, careful and thoughtful re-examination.
    Geoff Roberts
    Former Headmaster, Crescent School, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • I want to thank you for your help in creating the Parent Ambassador Program for The Haverford Lower School, We look forward to continuing to develop and enhance the program to help identify, enroll, and retain more mission-appropriate students. Since NAIS reports that about 80% of independent school inquiries come from word-of-mouth conversations, your vision for empowering devoted current parents to spread the “good word” has proven critical to our maintaining full enrollment in our Lower School. With your guidance, we were able to recruit the very best marketers-smart, happy parents-and channel their skills in ways that helped our admissions professionals become more efficient and productive. This program has more than paid for itself with the addition of new Lower School students.
    Joseph Cox
    Former Headmaster, The Haverford School, Philadelphia, PA
  • You led us through a profound re-evaluation of our faculty evaluation procedures, faculty salaries, and employee benefits. Your methodology – interviewing dozens of employees and trustees, collating that data and comparing it to best practices from around the independent school world, and then training us in ways to sort through the data to arrive at new policies that particularly fit our situation – ensured that everyone felt heard and that outcomes would be broadly supported. Many seasoned administrators in the final workshop said it was the most useful professional development they had ever attended. We are now well on our way to implementing new evaluation and compensation procedures that are mission-driven and widely supported by faculty -.quite an achievement.
    Rev. Canon Julian Bull
    Head of School, Campbell Hall School, North Hollywood, CA
  • Mr. Littleford’s professional approach, preparation and execution of our engagement was very impressive. His experience and deep knowledge of the area of independent school head compensation furnished the committee with detailed, current, critical data about the marketplace, unavailable publicly, allowing us to make informed decisions. The process was a resounding success, thanks to Mr. Littleford’s well tested process.
    Ann Sonnenfeld
    Former Board Chair, Agnes Irwin School, Philadelphia, PA
  • I recommend John (Littleford)’s work without hesitation. The following five qualities stand out: (1) John’s understanding of governance is best in class, (2) He can articulate his knowledge into simple language that can be remembered, (3) He is a great facilitator and uses stories and real case studies brilliantly. When he discusses an area of governance, Trustees in the room “get it” at the core, Prior to the seminar, he conducts fast and efficient interviews with techniques that enable him to customize his seminars to the particular needs and situation of the Board rather than giving a canned seminar, and (5) John has a heart. He loves his industry and part of his passion comes from a personal commitment to make it stronger. His caring, passion and enjoyment fill up the room and infect everyone in it.
    John Linehan
    Former Board Chair, Schools of the Sacred Heart, San Francisco, CA
  • We are aware of John’s incredible knowledge and extensive network of connections in the independent school world. That combined with his remarkable work ethic made John an easy choice for us as we considered Head of School consultants. Throughout the process John and his staff were always accessible and their communications were prompt and timely. An excellent handbook filled with procedures, guidelines, reminders and examples was provided as a tool, but John guided us through each step along the way. John and his staff offered just the right amount of gentle pressure to keep our search moving along our optimal timeline and were always professional and thorough.
    David Allain
    Board President, Wyndcroft School, Pottstown, PA
  • The resounding consensus was that the strategic planning workshop was very productive, eye opening, and energizing for us all. I enjoyed your high energy and quick wit, your effective and efficient manner, and absolutely know why they call you the best in the business! You should write a book!
    Gayle Tsien
    Board Chair, Saigon South International School, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • As a consultant, you provided important counsel for both dialog and debate. Helping to create an environment of transparency and open inquiry, allowed for substantive exchanges with all parties. More importantly, John, you helped the School navigate some significant challenges. In a complex organization such as Cranbrook, your encouragement and analysis proved to be invaluable.
    Arlyce M. Seibert
    Former Director of Schools, Cranbrook Schools, Bloomfield Hills, MI
  • I am writing because I just finished reading your latest newsletter.. Wow! It is so right on, as usual. The case studies and insights are very valuable. We trustees have heard them before but we need to hear and think about them every few months so we don’t slip!
    Mike Selverian
    Former Board Member, The Haverford School, Haverford, PA

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