10 Board Best Practice Issues That Impact Your School

#10 Attitude is Everything

The key in having board members who exhibit a positive attitude is to recruit them. The process of recruiting trustees must be intentional with the thought of finding individuals who will understand the value of working together. Unity and shared vision demonstrate strength and sustainability.

#9 Finding Balance from the Board

What is best for the school is what is best. Board members should be encouraged that while their skills and expertise is respected, the skills of determining what is in the best interest of the school is the most essential attribute a trustee can have.

#8 Board Members with an Agenda

To be sure, many individuals come to the board with certain beliefs and passions about what they consider to be most needed. This is a good thing! However, it becomes problematic when it is your overwhelming reason for being on the board. When the board member’s agenda interferes with agreed upon strategic direction, there is potential to drift from vision.

#7 The Value of Consensus and Teamwork

The principles of teamwork, trust, respect, and partnership are central ones. Being intentional and working together in a positive and productive manner will help keep the focus on the strategic work of the board.

#6 The Board Leadership Transition

Ideally, this transition should be a smooth, seamless one, and not necessarily noticeable to the school’s constituents. The bylaws should provide clarity as to the process and reveals the elements involved in making this transition.

#5 The Board of Trustees Has One Employee

The board of trustees has only one employee, and that person is the head of school. It follows then that every member of the school’s faculty and staff ultimately reports to the head. When board members loss sight of this fundamental principle and believe otherwise there are consequences.

#4 Fundraising is Fundamental

If it is true that those closest to the school are best suited to be its biggest supporters, then it stands to reason that the board of trustees, collectively and individually, is in the best position to provide this necessary financial support. While not all can give the same amount, all can give in a way that demonstrates that the school is priority in their giving while serving on the board.

#3 Evaluation Is the Key to Understanding Where You Have Been and Where You Are Headed

<>Can we be better, and if so how do we make this happen? Part of that answer may be found in whether or not the board evaluates its own work with the objective being the improvement of their performance—not the performance of the head!

#2 The Board Chair and the Head of School Must Connect

Of all the issues that constitute an independent or faith-based school; the most important is the relationship between the head and the board chair, and governing board. These relationships are key with the success of the school hanging in the balance.

#1 Partnership Is More Important than Hierarchy (What’s on the Organizational Chart)

We are so often hung up on our position in the school (or on the board) that we forget the best strategy may be to sit down, be quiet, and listen to other perspectives. A fundamental guiding principle or standard of best practices for an independent and faith-based school is found in the partnership fostered rather than concern for hierarchy.


Treating someone with respect and trust is certainly the way we wish to be treated. Serving, sharing, collaborating, listening, and caring has everything to do with a strong bond that is genuine and vital. The partnership of the board, the head, the staff all contribute significantly to the school’s success. And in the end, nothing is more important than that.