Evaluation: Boards, Heads, Administrators, Faculty
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Evaluation: Boards, Heads, Administrators, Faculty (and the School). Patrick F. Bassett, NAIS President www.nais.org. Evaluation. Boards Evaluating Boards Boards Evaluating Heads Heads Evaluating Administrative Team Members Heads and Administrators Evaluating Faculty.

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Evaluation: Boards, Heads, Administrators, Faculty

(and the School)

Patrick F. Bassett, NAIS President



  • Boards Evaluating Boards

  • Boards Evaluating Heads

  • Heads Evaluating Administrative Team Members

  • Heads and Administrators Evaluating Faculty

Boards Evaluating Boards: Five Metrics

1.) The Yardstick of Board Dashboard Indicators via the NAIS Governance Study

  • Do we have the right composition on the board? (In US, board members on average 22 members, half current parents).

  • Do we have the “right people on the bus”? (In US, vet by skill set + 3Rs capacity; standard is two 3-year terms).

  • Do we have the right meeting pattern? (In US, full boards meets 5-6 times per year; work done by committees & consent agendas. The greater the number of meetings, the more the board acts like “a volunteer fire department, responding to every emergency.”)

  • Do we have the right board structure and culture: 3 Levels of Governance

    2.) The Yardstick of Principles of Good Practice for Boards(convert PGP into an evaluation instrument; order The Trustee Kit from NAIS: Handbook, PGPs, subscription to Independent School magazine)

Boards Evaluating Boards: Five Metrics

3.) The Yardstick of the Strategic Plan’s Annual Goals

  • What piece of each goal does the board own?

    4. ) The Yardstick of the six Good to Great Principles

  • Level 5 leadership; first who then what; assessing the “brutal facts”; knowing your “hedgehog concept”; creating culture of discipline; technology as accelerator (See Good to Great PowerPoint)

    5. ) The Yardstick of Performance Assessment: NAIS/ BoardSource Online Assessment Tool (B.O.A.T): with Benchmarks and Report (Search for Evaluation at www.nais.org )


  • Boards Evaluating Heads

  • Job Descriptions for Heads (Education Week Classifieds):

  • Seeking the Ambassador, the General or the Priest?

  • College Prep seeks a leader who…

  • …is responsive to the constituency and understands the significance of genuine communication

  • …is a decisive and well-organized manager who can make tough decisions and be a steward of resources.

  • …is a visionary who can set the agenda for the 21st. century.

  • Schools & search committees are looking for…

  • “God on a good day.”

Boards Evaluating Heads

  • The Real Job(Education Week op ed, 4/12/95, Rob Evans)

  • Wanted: A miracle worker who can…

  • …do more with less

  • …pacify rival groups

  • …endure chronic second-guessing

  • …tolerate low levels of support

  • …process large volumes of paper

  • …work double shifts (75 nights out a year).

  • He or she will have carte blanche to innovate, but…

  • …cannot spend much money

  • …replace any personnel, or

  • …upset any constituency.

Conundrums of Evaluating Leadership

Boards Evaluating Heads: Leadership Style

  • “Social sector leaders are not less decisive than business leaders as a general rule; they only appear that way to those who fail to grasp the complex governance and diffuse power structures common to the social structure.” ~Jim Collins, Good to Great for the Social Sectors.

  • “True leadership exists only if people follow when they have the freedom not to.” ~Jim Collins, Good to Great for the Social Sectors.

  • It’s important to assess and discuss head style issues and hire or promote complementary upper level leaders.

Boards Evaluating Heads: Leadership Style

  • Note: Billy Joel’s tribute to wife, “I love you just the way you are” corresponds to the search committee’s assessment of new head.

  • Incidentally, not too long after the song’s release, Billy Joel dumped his wife for supermodel Christie Brinkley.

  • Heads should consider administering the Myers-Briggs Personality/Leadership Assessments to their Leadership Team: Where do we have gaps in style & approach? How can the team balance and supplement the head’s style?

Myers-Briggs Z+2 ModelI/E (introvert/extrovert); S/N (sensing/intuition); T/F (thinking/feeling); J/P (judging/perceiving)Adapted from The Zig-Zag Process for Problem Solving, pages 161-163, People Types and Tiger Stripes, 3rd edition, 1993, by Gordon D. Lawrence. Gainesville, FL: Center for Applications of Psychological Type.

S (Sensing): What problem are we trying to solve?

What are the facts, details, frequency?


N (iNtuition): What are the patterns and theories for why this might be happening? How do we brainstorm solutions?

How do you process info?

T (Thinking): What are the criteria by which we should make this decision? What is the logical way to address the problem?

F (Feeling): What is the impact on people? How can we deliver this info in the best way to get results?

How do you make decisions?

Conundrums of Evaluating Leadership

  • Board View of the Head’s Job

  • What’s Important

  • How To Evaluate

Conundrums of Evaluating Leadership: The 14 Skill Sets of the Job

Board Chair Priority Order for Head’s Work (NAIS Poll, 1991)

1. Climate and Values

2. Work with Trustees

3. Curriculum

4 Strategic Planning

5. Ensuring Financial Well-being

6. Managing Effective School Policies

7. Public Relations

8. Conflict Management

9. Recruiting Faculty

10. Salaries and Benefits

11. Counseling Personnel

12. Discipline

13. Fund-raising

14. Teaching

  • Trustees Priority Order ’91 Poll Heads Priority Order ’91 Poll

  • 1. Climate and Values 4

  • 2. Work with Trustees 11

  • 3. Curriculum 5

  • 4 Strategic Planning 10

  • 5. Ensuring Financial Well-being12

  • 6. Managing Effective School Policies 8

  • 7. Public Relations 7

  • 8. Conflict Management 6

  • 9. RecruitingFaculty 9

  • 10. Salaries and Benefits 14

  • 11. CounselingPersonnel 3

  • 12. Discipline 2

  • 13. Fund-raising 13

  • 14. Teaching 1

    • The Problem: No match-up in priorities: Boards wanted

  • CEOs, and Heads wanted to be head-masters.

Conundrums of Evaluating Leadership

Board Chair Priority Order (2001)vs. 1991 Rank vs. 2006 Rank

1. Climate and Values 11

2. Recruiting Faculty 92

3. Strategic Planning44

4. Ensuring Financial Well-being55

5. Managing Effective School Policies63

6. Work with Trustees27

7. Fund-raising 136

8. Public Relations79

9. Curriculum38

10. Salaries and Benefits 1012

11. Conflict Management810

12. Counseling Personnel 1111

13. Discipline 1213

14. Teaching 1414

Conundrums of Evaluating Leadership

  • Board Chair vs. Head Priority Order (NAIS Poll 2006)

  • Chairs2006Heads2006

  • 1. Climate and Values 1

  • 2. Recruiting Faculty2

  • Managing Effective School Policies6

  • Strategic Planning4

  • 5. Ensuring Financial Well-being3

  • 6. Fund-raising7

  • 7. Work with Trustees 5

  • 8. Curriculum10

  • 9. Public Relations 8

  • 10. Conflict Management 9

  • 11. Counseling Personnel11

  • 12. Salaries & Benefits 12

  • 13. Discipline 13

  • 14. Teaching 14

  • The New Reality: Strategic match-up in priorities. The Lesson: Co-define “high impact” activities for this time at this school.

Conundrums of Evaluating Leadership

  • The Perfect Head of School(Walter Ebmyer, ISM, 1980)

  • The Perfect Head of School always has the right thing to say…wears good clothes…buys good books…is 29 years old with 40 years of experience…smiles all the time…visits 15 classes per day and is always in the office to be available for instant parent conferences…etc.

  • The Perfect Head of School is always in the next nearest school (not yours).

  • If your head does not measure up…

  • Send this notice to six other schools that are tired of their heads, too.

  • Bundle up your head and send him or her to the school on the top of the list.

  • In one week you will receive 1643 heads--and one will be perfect: Have faith in this letter.

  • One country day school broke the chain and got its old head back in less than four months.

Head/Board Evaluation Principles

  • The head of school is the board’s employee (and only employee): it is the board’s responsibility to evaluate the head, not any one else’s.

  • The entire board, and not just the Executive Committee, should be involved.

  • This process should occur on an annual basis, in June.

  • The evaluation criteria (any or all the following):

    • articulated in the context of the job definition: Which of the 14 “skill sets” are most important for this school? (Outcomes suggest professional development or executive coaching focus.)

    • related to the school’s success (“dashboard indicators” of admissions, retention, giving, outcomes for students, etc.)

    • linked to the strategic plan of the school, the mission, and/or the specific goals set for the year.

    • incorporated in NAIS’s PGPs/BoardSource’s online Head Assessment Tool (HAT).

Head/Board Evaluation Principles

  • Typically, a board selects a small group of its members as the head’s evaluation committee (3-5, sometimes the Executive Committee) to assemble, distill, and discuss the evaluation results.

  • The results and recommendations of the committee are then shared by the board president and vice-president or president-elect in private, with the school head, and in Executive Session, with the entire board.

  • Objective goals (a small, manageable number of them) for the coming year should be set for the head (as they should also be set for the board…and the school).

Head/Board Evaluation Principles

  • Public endorsement of the head follows, building political capital.

  • Why do some heads derail? Hoisted on the petard of the change agenda. Misreading the culture. The “substance” rule.

  • Why do the same problems result in different outcomes at differing schools?

  • How does the board integrate evaluation with head compensation? Meet its fiduciary duty to compensate appropriately but not excessively (and produce a “safe harbor” rebuttable presumption checklist to satisfy IRS-required due diligence?

Head/Board Evaluation Principles


  • Heads Evaluating Administrative Team Members

Heads Evaluating Administrative Teams

Reliability of Supervisor Evaluations?(Taken from British Military OFR's--officer fitness reports)

  • His men would follow him anywhere, but only out of curiosity.

  • He would be out of his depth in a park puddle.

  • This officer reminds me very much of a gyroscope - always spinning around at a frantic pace, but not really going anywhere.

Heads Evaluating Administrative Teams

Reliability of Supervisor Evaluations?(Taken from British Military OFR's--officer fitness reports)

  • This young lady has delusions of adequacy.

  • She sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them.

  • This man is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot.

Administrative Evaluation: 3 Choices

Choice 1).Measure success against individual goals assigned

  • Define “what success looks like” for the administrator and his or her team (division or department) for the coming year

  • Determine 100-day, 200-day, 300-day goals

  • Celebrate successes

  • At each 100-day goal point, assess progress.

Administrative Evaluation: 3 Choices

Choice 2).Seek feedback from team members and/or constituent surveys:

  • Survey sampling from faculty within the division for feedback on division heads, from coaches for feedback on AD, from alumni and development staff for feedback on the director of development, via a 360-degree tool. etc. (Note “feedback” is part of, not the same thing as “evaluation.” For on-line 360 degree tools, go to Evaluation section of www.nais.org)

  • Use school-wide “value proposition” survey to assess in general satisfaction levels

  • Create a “Good to Great” survey for administration team

    (For outline of “Good to Great” principles, see the PowerPoint by that title.)

Administrative Evaluation: 3 Choices

Choice 3).Undertake psychometric assessment: individual and team strengths and weaknesses

  • Team Climate

  • Organizational Culture

  • Readiness for Change

  • Team Leadership

  • Personal Leadership

    (For descriptions and sources of various tools, do a Google search or see the NAIS Head Search Handbook: MPPiii, Meyers Briggs, Omnia Survey, etc.)

Team Profile

Administrative Evaluation: Team Development

Strategies for Developing the Team as a Team

  • Start the Year with a Management Team Retreat where the each member shares his or her 100/200/300 day goals for his area of responsibility, then articulate as a group what the team goals should be, by answering the question, “What makes helps/hinders the formation and execution of a great team?” (e.g., Yankees vs. U.S. Olympic Basketball Team)

  • Commit Resources for at least one team professional development activity during the year: e.g., NAIS’s Summer Institutes: School Leadership Institute; School Financing Institute; Gettysburg Leadership Institute; Sustainable Schools Institute; etc.


  • Heads and Administrators Evaluating Faculty

Administrators Evaluating Faculty

Reliability of Student Evaluations?Taken from the MIT Course Evaluation Guide, Fall, 1991

  • The recitation instructor would make a good parking lot attendant. Tries to tell you where to go, but you can never understand him.

  • Text is useless. I use it to kill roaches in my room.

  • Help! I've fallen asleep and I can't wake up!

Administrators Evaluating Faculty

Reliability of Student Evaluations?Taken from the MIT Course Evaluation Guide, Fall, 1991

  • Recitation was great. It was so confusing that I forgot who I was, where I was, and what I was doing -- it's a wonderful stress reliever.

  • TA steadily improved throughout the course... I think he started drinking, and it really loosened him up.

  • Information was presented like a ruptured fire hose -- spraying in all directions -- no way to stop it.

Faculty Evaluation

The truth of the matter…

  • Faculty evaluation tied to contracting: Everyone gets an “A-” or better from faculty an d administration peers: useful, constructive criticism seldom shared (because of the fear--irrational or otherwise-- that it will be used as weapon by an administrator to bludgeon a colleague).

  • No teacher thinks any administrator is remotely qualified to judge his or her brilliance in the classroom.

  • Everyone already knows who the “high performers” and “low performers” are on a faculty, including all the students and parents. See http://www.ratemyteacher.com

  • Current evaluation system linked to contracts and pay is counterproductive (producing anxiety and distrust) rather than productive (helping teachers become learners).

Re-engineering Evaluation: Separating Contracting from Professional Development

  • Change the rubric from “faculty evaluation” to “faculty professional development,” and place it within the province of the faculty (led by the dean of faculty or department heads or lead teachers) See “Creating a Healthy Faculty Culture” monograph. Purpose: collegial exchange about good pedagogy.

  • Establish personal and professional growth as the goal: self-evaluation, peer visitations, school visits, student/parent instruments for program evaluation: All less threatening if purpose is learning and growth rather than contracting.

  • Undertake longitudinal study of matriculants: How do our kids do in various areas of study/life in their next schools?

Re-engineering Evaluation: Separating Contracting from Professional Development

  • Contracting an administrative team function, not an academic function.

  • Annual assessment by the administrative team of each faculty and staff member’s overall contribution to the community, and effectiveness as…

    • classroom teacher/staff administrator.

    • role model.

    • coach.

    • advisor.

    • supervisor.

    • team player (as colleague, supporter of school, etc.).

    • life-long learner, “risk-taker,” researcher (“What research team are you on, and how is what you’ve learned manifest in your students’ electronic portfolios or your administrative team’s performance?”)

Re-engineering Evaluation: Separating Contracting from Professional Development

  • Contracting process an administrative responsibility. One new model for schools: the 360-degree assessment

    • “High Performance” = effective teaching, coaching, advising (demonstrable student learning and successes)

    • “Good attitude” = modeling the core values, supporting kids, parents, colleagues (including leadership).

Re-engineering Evaluation: Separating Contracting from Professional Development

  • Annual contracting conversations between employee and division head/business manager related to results of assessment:

    • Quad 1 (High Performance/Good Attitude):

      • REWARD

    • Quad 2 (Poor to Avg Performance/Good Attitude):


    • Quad 3 (High Performance/Bad Attitude):


    • Quad 4 (Poor Performance/Bad Attitude):

      • DISMISS

How To Evaluate the School

  • Balanced Scorecard Assessment: 4 metrics of financial equilibrium, customer satisfaction, business process effectiveness/efficiency, and staff innovation/learning.

  • Data Proxies of Success: benchmarks on admissions, student and faculty attrition, giving, endowment, etc. (See NAIS’s “Six Steps to Financial Sustainability” workbook and/or PowerPoint.

  • Tracking Alumni: How well do graduates perform at the next level of schooling?

The End!

For More Resources on this Topic, Go to www.nais.org

Appendix: Related Slides

Patrick F. Bassett, NAIS President


Developing the Board & Admin Team(Board Member, May 2004, Chait et al.)

The SAT Analogy:

Our board is to our school

as is to.

Our admin team is to our school

as is to.

Problem Solving via Strategic Governance

Needed: Three Levels of Trusteeship

  • Level One: Fiduciary (auditing function of oversight and assessment of mission & finance)

  • Level Two: Strategic (leadership function: “less management/more governance” via scanning and planning)

  • Level Three: Generative (visionary function of shared leadership, R&D orientation for imagining and experimenting).

Three Levels of Board Governance(Adapted from Board Member, May 2004, Chait et al.)

“The antidote to micromanagement is macroengagement.”~Dick Chait.

3-tier thinking applied to problem-solving?

Three-Tier Thinking

  • Rising Benefit Costs:

    • Fiduciary thinking: “Increase co-pays” to share costs with employees”

    • Strategic thinking: “Market our absorbing of increased costs as recruitment/retention benefit”

    • Generative thinking: “Form a benefit-purchasing consortium”

Three-Tier Thinking

  • Add another Foreign Language:

    • Fiduciary thinking: “OK: which other language do we drop?”

    • Strategic thinking: “Why don’t we offer small enrollment courses (language or whatever) on an a la carte pricing basis?

    • Generative thinking: Which languages will be not a feature but a benefit in terms of market niche and long-term advantage to graduates? (German after WWII, Russian after Sputnik, Arabic now, Chinese next?)

    • “Chinese is strategic in a way that a lot of other languages aren’t…. Planning to be ready to engage with (the Chinese) rather than only thinking of them in terms of a challenge or a competitor is the smart thing to do.”Scott McGinnis, on the rising popularity of Chinese classes in American public schools. (Newsweek, 10/24/05)

NAIS/BoardSource Online Assessment Tool (B.O.A.T.)

Topic overview

Clear Questions

Space for comments

4-point Satisfaction


Track progress along

the 10 sections

Not sure

Board Evaluation Categories

Benchmark Scores for Board Assessment

  • Mission

  • Strategic Planning

  • Monitoring Program

  • Ensuring Adequate Funding

5. Fiscal Oversight

6. Risk Management

7. Supporting & Evaluating Head

8. Relationship with Staff

Sample Report: Section 2-Planning

Sample Report: Section 2-Planning


NAIS Principles of Good Practice

  • The board adopts a clear statement of the school's mission, vision, and strategic goals and establishes policies and plans consistent with this statement.

  • The board reviews and maintains appropriate bylaws that conform to legal requirements, including duties of loyalty, obedience and care.

  • The board assures that the school and the board operate incompliance with applicable laws and regulations, minimizing exposure to legal action. The board creates a conflict of interest policy that is reviewed with, and signed by, individual trustees annually.

  • The board accepts accountability for both the financial stability and the financial future of the institution, engaging in strategic financial planning, assuming primary responsibility for the preservation of capital assets and endowments, overseeing operating budgets, and participating actively in fund-raising.

NAIS Principles of Good Practice

  • The board adopts a clear statement of the school's mission, vision, and strategic goals and establishes

  • The board selects, supports, nurtures, evaluates, and sets appropriate compensation for the head of school.

  • The board recognizes that its primary work and focus are long-range and strategic.

  • The board undertakes formal strategic planning on a periodic basis, sets annual goals related to the plan, and conducts annual written evaluations for the school, the head of school, and the board itself.

  • The board keeps full and accurate records of its meetings, committees, and policies and communicates its decisions widely, while keeping its deliberations confidential.

NAIS Principles of Good Practice

  • Board composition reflects the strategic expertise, resources and perspectives (past, present, future) needed to achieve the mission and strategic objectives of the school.

  • The board works to ensure all its members are actively involved in the work of the board and its committees.

  • As leader of the school community, the board engages proactively with the head of school in cultivating and maintaining good relations with school constituents as well as the broader community and exhibits best practices relevant to equity and justice.

  • The board is committed to a program of professional development that includes annual new trustee orientation, ongoing trustee education and evaluation, and board leadership succession planning.


  • Once evaluation is complete, then…

    “Show me the Money” Salary Negotiations:

    • Intermediate sanctions obligations to document top salaried employees' compensation (head and CFO) are related to performance assessment and market comparables.

    • Due diligence itself is rather onerous: one-time assessment for multiple-year contract may be an attractive option (repeated at the end of each contract term and with yearly compensation benchmark reports from NAIS to make sure the total comp remains within appropriate ranges.)

Head/Board Evaluation Principles

Head Compensation: Fair, Competitive…AND Defensible

  • Issues of Public Transparency and Scrutiny

    • 990s on Guidestar.org

    • Abuse & Scandal in the Non-profit World

    • IRS & State Attorney Office Interest in Not-for-Profit Operations

    • Good governance in the age of Sarbannes-Oxley

Head Compensation: Fair, Competitive…AND Defensible

Safe Harbor/Rebuttable Presumption Processes to Avoid IRS Intermediate Sanctions for “Excessive Compensation”

  • Identify & benchmark peer groups by geography, budget, size, endowment, and anything else deemed relevant.

  • Look at ALL compensation, including things that are not actually taxable, but are benefits (health premiums paid by the school, etc.). See NAIS advisory online, Intermediate Sanctions Update and the StatsOnline Comp Survey, Part III for categories of compensation.

Head Compensation: Fair, Competitive…AND Defensible

Safe Harbor/Rebuttable Presumption Processes to Avoid IRS Intermediate Sanctions for “Excessive Compensation”

  • For high-end divergences from the mainstream of one’s benchmark groups, develop rationales: e.g., positive evaluations; national rather than local comparisons; higher offers from other institutions raiding your stable, etc.

  • Document, document, and document again the data, the discussion with the entire board, and the vote to approve the compensation package.

Return to Part III, Evaluating Adminstrators

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