You walk into your monthly meeting, and your turn to speak arrives. You stand up in front of your fellow administrators to present your part of the agenda. As you take your seat, the School Head leans over to whisper, “I’m really sorry, but did you know your fly was down?”
Moments like this happen all the time, and our example is relatively tame. Instead of a zipper having fallen, it could’ve been oppressive body odor or poor work performance. These issues—personal and professional alike—should be addressed. As Business Manager, sometimes it falls to you to have these tough, awkward conversations. Such situations require tact, sympathy, and—occasionally—some tough love.
The Hockaday School in Dallas, Texas, learned about disposing of hazardous chemicals the hard way this summer. CBS reported that the school’s Science Department Head found a small amount of acetone peroxide while cleaning up a classroom over the summer. Acetone peroxide can explode in even small quantities when confined in a container like a beaker, so the school was evacuated and emergency personnel contacted. A local bomb squad detonated the explosive substance in the vacant lot across the street.
While no one was hurt, the incident was certainly a wake-up call for The Hockaday School and for everyone who thinks hazardous waste is glowing green barrels of nuclear byproduct. Hazardous chemicals exist at your school and require adequate management policies and practices to protect your school, faculty, and students.
Boards often confront the issue of sustainability of private-independent schools, now and in the future. One common concern is that private school tuitions have historically outpaced inflation—a well-documented truth. The real question is whether this leads to the demise of private schools. To answer this question, we’ll need to explore several factors.
Should school administrators besides the School Head routinely—or ever—attend Board meetings? Are there times when the Board ought to meet without the School Head? Don’t allow these seemingly small questions to become issues of contention. Put the following guidelines, observations, and recommendations to work.