The Grand Waltz. The Head of School And The Board of Trustees. The Waltz in a Nutshell. You guide them, and they employ you. Mission, Resources, and Strategy. Mission: The board is the steward of the mission
The Grand Waltz
The Head of School
The Board of Trustees
You guide them, and they employ you.
Mission: The board is the steward of the mission
Resources: The board is the steward of the school’s resources (people, facilities, and financial) both now and for the future
Strategy: The board holds the future of the school in its trust and works in partnership with the head to set the strategic direction of the school
The Head of School, of course!
Primary Responsibility of the Head of School: To oversee the implementation of the school’s educational mission and to manage daily operations
• Work in close partnership with the board of trustees to develop and implement a strategic vision for the school
• Embody the pursuit of knowledge and love of learning (“Headmaster”)
• Manage communication for the school; chief storyteller & problem-solver
• Manage personnel (hiring, firing, etc.)
• Oversee and guide all program and policy decisions
The Board of Trustees, of course!
Primary Responsibility of the Board of Trustees: To govern the school by offering time, talent, and treasure (work, wisdom, and wealth)
Selects, evaluates, and supports the Head of School
Develops broad institutional policies that guide the Head of School
Safeguards the financial well-being of the school
Acts as a whole unit, not as self-interested individuals
Members and Ex-Officio Members
Parents (Current and Past)
Fellow Head of School or Senior Administrator
Community Members/Friend of the School
(Faculty/Student Representative: NOT ADVISED)
Buildings and Grounds/Campus Stewardship
Committee on Trustees/Governance
Other Possibilities: Community/Diversity; Education
Approval of the Minutes/Consent Agenda
Board Chair Report
Head of School Report
Key Policy Discussions and Decisions (Votes)
You are the board chair. You receive an email signed by the faculty expressing disapproval of the firing of the school’s beloved Middle School English teacher (who had been with the school for 15 years). The letter requests a meeting with the trustees. The head of school had discussed the impending firing with you before the action was taken, and you had agreed that the action was necessary.
As board chair, what do you do about the email from the faculty?
(a) You call the head, report the email, and say that you feel it is necessary to meet with the faculty, preferably without the head, to show them that you want to hear their concerns.
(b) You write a thoughtful response to the faculty on behalf of the board.
(c) You ignore the email, assuming that head of school will weather the crisis.
(d) You send a response to the faculty saying that although you understand their concern, hiring and firing decisions are the domain of the head, whose action you support.
(e) You call a special board meeting to deal with the crisis.
A trustee is watching the boys’ varsity basketball team play abysmally against a rival school.The trustee’s 15 year-old is a player on the team, and the teen has often complained that the basketball coach is "no good" and "mean." At the game, another parent makes a snide remark to the trustee about the athletics program and expresses doubts the abilities of the coach.
What is the trustee supposed to do?
(a) Tell the parent that she/he is concerned too and will raise the issue at the next board meeting.
(b) Change the subject and decide not to share the conversation with the head.
(c) Ask around to see if others share similar views and then report the findings to the board chair.
(d) Find an opportunity to talk to the head about the concerns about the athletics program and coach.
(e) Write a note to the Director of Athletics to report parents’ concerns.
Seek to serve as a trustee of a non-profit you love
Request permission from the Head of School to join or audit a full board meeting or committee meetings
Read the NAIS Trustee Handbook to familiarize yourself with best practices in school governance
Head of School’s Decision
Joint Decision between the Head and the Board