The Board is composed of seven different people with different experiences, different perspectives, different personalities, and different strengths, each elected by our communities to represent their educational concerns. As board members we have no individual power or authority— our authority comes as a body, in an official vote. We have a lot of discussion, sometimes it gets intense, and occasionally we have to apologize to each other, but once the decision is made, the vote taken, the expectation is that we speak as one. We support the decision of the Board. As a Board, we have a Code of Conduct. We developed it ourselves to fit the way we want to function and treat each other. A quick way to get in trouble with fellow board members is to violate the Code of Conduct. Repeated violations of this code will cause one to lose the trust and confidence of fellow board members and the offender will become ineffective as a board member.
The Board elects one of the seven to be their president. The president has no more power or authority than the other members of the Board. The president facilitates the board processes, is the spokesman and representative for the Board and works with the Superintendent to prepare agendas.
Sometimes our constituents call and want us to help them with an issue. They think that we can step in and fix things but we cannot. That is not our stewardship and we have no individual authority to intervene. We are to help facilitate them in the problem solving process. We encourage them to solve the problem at the most local level through the established processes. The Board is the court of final appeal in most district issues so we need to remain objective. We must not prejudice the process by our interference or by hearing so much of the detail that we are biased and have to recuse ourselves from the appeal process. This is especially true for personnel issues. Policy and procedures provide the framework for these processes.
The Board is responsible for policy and oversight. We hire a Superintendent and Business Administrator to run the daily operations of the district. There are many governance models from which the Board could choose to operate. We have chosen a collaborative governance model which means we work together with the Superintendent and Business Administrator while respecting the defined stewardships. Board Members have to be careful to not overstep their bounds and get into micromanaging administration since we have significant access to both information and staff.
No single board member has the right to tell the Superintendent (or staff) what to do. He takes his direction from the Board President after the will of the board is known. This protects him from political and personal agendas and it protects the system. The seven member board speaks as one.
While our Mission, Vision, Values and Goals (MVVG) guide the focus and priorities of the Board, good processes support our culture of collaborative decision-making. These processes include research, evaluation, discussion, inquiry, education and collaboration with the Board, Superintendent, administration, staff and community. The Board nurtures a collaborative relationship with our community. There is an extensive feedback and decision-making process in place for this. We want it to be an open and transparent process, without finger pointing or blame, in a culture of continuous improvement. Working together we make better decisions.
Collaboration requires a great deal of trust at every level of decision-making. Respect, encouragement, integrity, capacity building and personal growth are all important to trust building. It requires character as well as competence. We cannot take trust for granted. It does not just exist or endure on its own–we must always be working on and protecting it, both individually and collectively.
The Board sets the tone and example for this culture. Board members have a stewardship to protect, support and nurture all the stakeholders of the district. We have to be concerned with the morale of the employees, the values and desires of the parents and community, as well as the needs of the children. The most effective Board members are those who have a respect and appreciation for the district and for public education. This affects board relationships, the morale of the employees, the perception and support of the community and ultimately the achievement of the students.
Board service is hard work, taking significant time and emotional commitment. There is little power, glory or prestige in the position, but the rewards are great in regards to children, their growth and development. That is why the best board members became board members, they want the best for all children.