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Board/Superintendent Relations. Leadership Team for Children Kathy Hayes, Co-Director Leadership Development Michigan Association of School Boards. Collaborative Board/Superintendent Leadership is Essential:. For forming a community vision

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board superintendent relations

Board/Superintendent Relations

Leadership Team for Children

Kathy Hayes, Co-Director

Leadership Development

Michigan Association of School Boards

collaborative board superintendent leadership is essential
Collaborative Board/Superintendent Leadership is Essential:
  • For forming a community vision
  • For crafting long-range goals and plans for raising the achievement of every child
collaborative board superintendent leadership is essential3
Collaborative Board/Superintendent Leadership is Essential:
  • For improving the professional development and status of teachers and other employees
  • For ensuring that the guidance, support and resources needed for success are available
why are superintendents disappearing
Why are superintendents disappearing?
  • The pressures of the accountability movement
  • The narrowing gap between the superintendent’s compensation and the compensation of other administrators in the district
  • The heavy time commitment
why are superintendents disappearing5
Why are superintendents disappearing?
  • The declining mobility of candidates due to two-income families
  • The turnover rate of superintendents

What are the top reasons board members give for the breakdown of the relationship between their board and the superintendent?

a notation about leadership and relationships
A Notation About Leadership and Relationships…

“The real power – If there is any in the superintendency – is in your relationships. Your ability to get things done, to lead, and to govern will depend on the quality of your relationships.”

John Horn

challenges of the board governance structure
Challenges of the Board Governance Structure
  • Minimal qualifications to be elected
  • Lack of training
  • Little or no knowledge of what it means to be a board member
  • Little knowledge about education
  • Preconceived ideas/Personal agendas
  • Sense of obligation to the constituents who elected them AND…

Focus consciously on the human dimension of the board-superintendent partnership by being open, reliable and equitable.

  • Superintendent sees board as a precious asset rather than as a damage-control challenge
  • Willing to spend a quarter of his/her time on board governance and relationships
and communicate some more
Keep the whole board well informed, not just your supporters

Be an active listener who uses communication skills to build trust and collaboration

Question the board about the information they need to make decisions

And Communicate some more!
ways to communicate with board members
Ways to communicate with board members
  • Weekly reports
  • Call all board members prior to board meetings
  • Crisis situations
  • Establish clear expectations
  • Create forums for discussion where it’s okay for a board member to share a concern
more on communication
More on Communication
  • Communicate accurate information, early and often
  • Head off potential problems
  • Elicit from board members information about what they are hearing
  • Avoid even the appearance of ethical conflicts
  • Be consistent and predictable in your own behavior
  • Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t Know”
  • Keep confidential all matters meant to be confidential
  • Carry out obligations as promised

-Follow up on questions and requests promptly

  • Get packets to board members in a timely way
  • Be overly prepared for meetings and offer well-thought-out recommendations for action
  • Give the board full facts and background
  • Follow policy consistently
never back the board into a corner
Never back the board into a corner
  • Remember to include your board every step of the way in crucial decisions
  • Admit mistakes on a timely basis – don’t wait until someone points it out
  • Share information equally with board members
  • Provide opportunity for training to all board members
  • Seek all board member opinions and ideas
  • Make equal time for all members
  • Refrain from making negative comments about any one board member
target improvement
Target Improvement
  • Set goals together; Revisit often
  • Regularly present educational updates from school improvement teams, administrators and teachers regarding goal progress
  • Help boards make decisions based on data
  • Encourage board members to learn about their roles and responsibilities by attending board development opportunities
get assistance
Get Assistance!!
  • Talk to other experienced superintendents
  • Use an objective facilitator to “clear” the air and facilitate a board workshop
  • Work with the board president
  • Schedule a meeting to work through the problem