Mount Pleasant School Achieving Excellence With Limited Resources

By James Baron, Fred Swaniker
2004 | Case No. HR23
In December 2003, Edna Swaniker, managing director of Mount Pleasant School in Botswana, faced a number of challenges. The school, which had been founded to offer a high-quality education to children of middle-income families, had been one of the top two or three schools in the country for the past five years, based on standardized testing. The school’s outstanding performance had come despite that fact that it had to train its own teachers, paid less than other schools, had suffered from underdeveloped facilities, and had high turnover of both students and teachers. The success had come in large part due to Swaniker’s personal efforts to rigorously train and supervise teachers. Now, Swaniker was planning her own retirement, and was thinking about how to continue the school, and how it could maintain its level of excellence after she left. At the same time, parents were pressing her to expand the school from a middle school to include a high school. How could she institutionalize the processes that led to the school’s excellence? How could she stop the flow of teachers she had trained that were leaving to take higher salaries in wealthy schools? And, should she expand the school?
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