Prime Times for Contacting District Leaders

Survey sheds light on daily schedules in K-12

Director, Research Center

School district leaders have schedules that are packed with meeting with colleagues, visits to schools, and heaps of paperwork. When are they free to meet with vendors trying to pitch them on products?

A proprietary survey conducted by Education Week Marketing of registered users of provides a breakdown of when school leaders were likely to engage in ten different activities during a typical work day …

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School district leaders have schedules packed with collaborations with colleagues, check-ins about ongoing reports, and visits to schools. Education companies need to understand the rhythms of a typical district leader’s day if they want to get in the door to talk about their products and services.

A proprietary Education Week Marketing survey of registered users of asked more than 800 top school district leaders when they were most likely to engage in 10 different activities during a typical workday. The results suggest:

The best zone of opportunity to meet with a district leader is between 11 a.m. and 3 pm.

Of the 10 activities the survey asked about, though, “meeting with vendors” was the least frequent. Leaders were nearly twice as likely to be found working at their desks, meeting with one another, and visiting schools.

Here are some of the best and worst times of day to make contact with school district leaders:

7-9 a.m.

Nearly half of district leaders (48 percent) who commute on a typical day do so during this time period. Once they arrive in the office, it’s a quiet time. This is when the district leaders are most likely to work at their desks. So you might just be able to get their attention with an email or a call. But you probably shouldn’t suggest a face-time meeting during these early-morning hours. It’s the second-least-popular time of the day to meet with you.

9-11 a.m.

Hands down the busiest and most collaborative time of the day. This is when district leaders are most likely to be doing five of the 10 activities or tasks we asked about:

• Visiting a school

• Senior-staff meeting

• Meeting 1-on-1 with a subordinate

• Meeting 1-on-1 with a colleague

• Meeting 1-on-1 with a boss

This period also ties with 3 to 5 p.m. as the most popular time for departmental meetings. So it’s a highly interactive period when influencers may have the opportunity to spread the word to their colleagues about a conversation or email from a vendor during the 7-to-9 a.m. time frame. Besides being a period when leaders meet with their colleagues, it is also the second-most-likely time of day for district leaders to meet with vendors.

1-3 p.m.

This is vendor-meeting primetime. More than a quarter of district leaders who meet with vendors on a typical day report that this post-lunch period is when they are most likely to engage in that activity. No other two-hour time period is more popular for vendor meetings.

3-5 p.m.

This stretch ties with the popular 9-11 a.m. slot as the time when district leaders are most likely to be found in a departmental meeting. It’s also the second-most-popular time of day for commuting as district leaders start to trickle home. Still, it’s a period when some district leaders are definitely willing to meet with vendors. For those who meet with vendors on a typical day, it’s the third-most-popular time to do so. It’s also the second-most-popular time for deskwork, opening the door for additional email or phone contact.

5-7 p.m.

This is the time of day when district leaders are least likely to schedule a meeting with a vendor. If they’re still at work, they may be at a school board meeting: Upwards of 90 percent of district leaders who attend school board meetings on a typical workday say that this is when their school board meets.

School board meetings are typically open to the public. In fact, districts are usually required to publicize the time, location, and agenda in advance, so check their websites for details. Tuesday and Thursday evenings are popular times for formal meetings, but informal workshops (where the details behind the decisions often get hashed out) may be scheduled throughout the week, and also during the day. The superintendent will probably be occupied throughout most meetings with the board. But public meetings can be great opportunities for education companies to make contact with other senior district staff members. Although they are often required to attend board meetings, these top school leaders often find themselves waiting around as the board makes its way through the agenda to the items most relevant to their work.