Board Member Recruitment: Who You Select Will Make a Difference

Open positions on the governing board are a great opportunity for individuals to serve your school with their expertise, wisdom, and influence. It should rank at the top for you as an opening to infuse your leadership team with fresh thinking, new relationships, and ALL that a new board member brings to the table.

But not so fast.

The old saying “marry in haste, repent at leisure” applies here. Choose wisely and elevate your board’s performance. Make your choices based on too little criteria, or wrong criteria, and be prepared for the consequences.

Early on in my book Healthy Boards-Successful Schools (Chapter 3), I address establishing a process for the recruitment of new trustees. This process is unquestionably critical to the success of any school, its head of school, and a school’s prospects to thrive and flourish going forward.

I list eight factors that need consideration with each appointment or reappointment to your board. In no particular order, here are four of them. They are not “no brainers!” How you apply them and understand their significance where the composition and capability of the governing board is concerned cannot be underestimated. You can’t just check off boxes. Be excellent in applying these criteria, and you will build an excellent board.


Nothing is more noticeable to the public than the presence of women or men on your board. Avoiding the embarrassment of poorly thought and hasty decisions starts here. There are too many bad examples in which there are no women or few women on the board.


From generation to generation, perspectives and worldviews shift. Values may not shift, but a school’s connection to new families and prospective students is paramount. Good intentions can be defeated by archaic manifestations.


Competence! Knowledgeable board members are good. But you need leaders that know how to serve and do so with their expertise in a variety of disciplines. Finance, human resources, marketing, media, planning, plants and facilities, etc. You don’t the CEO in every circumstance, but aim high, and they’ll help take you there. The skills must be present.


Our communities are becoming increasingly diverse. Your school’s relevance and connection to the community will be judged on this. More than that, you need the contributions that originate from different life experiences and traditions. Otherwise, you’ll greatly limit your potential for growth, and innovative solutions and methods.

There are other elements not so obvious but yet vital. I also include a Case Story to help you see it play out in real life. Buy this resource, Healthy Boards -Successful Schools, and begin improving your school, by improving your governing board.

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