The ‘Marriage’ of the Board President and School Head

Vol. 16 No. 6

trustees eletter vol16 no6 Boardrelationshi

The leader of the Board and the leader of your school are partners. One cannot function without the understanding, guidance, and respect of the other. It is, in fact, a marriage of sorts.

And, like other marriages, it is subject to ups and downs, honeymoons and divorces. Obviously, the welfare of the school is critically dependent on this successful marriage.

Each of these leaders should concentrate on the responsibilities that are primary to that office. The Board President attends to areas of overall policy and general financial well-being; the School Head focuses on the many aspects of daily school operations. Yet each must delve into the other’s areas if the relationship is to be meaningful and mutually supportive.

The Head must anticipate the problems to be faced by the President and the Board, drawing the President’s attention to these areas. Likewise, the President must be aware of what is happening in the school, remaining current on attitudes or situations that could develop into problems.

The transformation into a team requires much effort and time. The Board Presidency should be that person’s top priority outside family and earning a living. (And there are times when job and family may take a back seat.) Phone calls from the Head must be answered or returned immediately.

The Head and the President should arrange weekly meetings. Even if they set aside only an hour each Wednesday morning for coffee, the uninterrupted time enables these two leaders to relate and work together. There can be no secrets between the two—mutual trust is the goal.

To guarantee smooth operation of the school and a “successful marriage,” the compatibility of personalities is, of course, essential and even critical. Trustees are well aware of personality when selecting a School Head.

They should be equally aware of personality when choosing a President. In fact, it is wise for the nominating body of the Board to involve the Head in that selection process.

All marriages are demanding on the partners. But those who work at making the marriage successful have the pleasure of seeing the development of their family. Your school “family” deserves a successful “marriage” between the School Head and the Board President.

Additional ISM resources:
The Source for Trustees Vol. 16 No. 6 Respectful and Constructive Board/School Head Relationships
The Source for Trustees Vol. 13 No. 3 Five Key Reasons to Develop a Head Evaluation Process

Additional ISM resources for Gold Consortium members:
I&P Vol. 32 No. 1 The Board’s Contract With the School Head: Solidify Expectations, Define Relationships
I&P Vol. 39 No. 16 The Board’s Role in the School Head’s Personnel Decisions

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