Five Ways the School Head Can Work Effectively With the Board
Vol. 16 No. 4
Your role as School Head is to lead by example, inspire enthusiasm among faculty and staff, and ultimately enrich the student experience. The job requires patience, hard work, and dedication.
It also requires thoughtful planning to create and maintain a positive relationship with Board members. Below are some suggestions for working effectively with your Board, ensuring effective leadership as a successful, long-lasting Head.
Receive an ongoing performance evaluation.
You are only going to be a successful leader if you know what is expected of you and you receive regular feedback on what’s working and what requires improvement. The Head Support and Evaluation Committee should evaluate your performance at predetermined intervals, whether that’s quarterly, biannually, or once per school year. Work together to develop a reasonable number of achievable, carefully defined objectives that tie into the school’s strategic plan. Set a timeline to achieve certain milestones and revise your methods if necessary.
Keep the Board in the loop.
When it comes to the Board, follow the mantra of “no surprises.” If your school experiences unusual attrition or an enrollment decline, let the Board know in a timely manner. Provide any supplementary information you can, including suggested solutions, to paint the full picture. Similarly, provide frequent updates on positive developments within the school. It may help to create a communication calendar that reminds you to inform the Board about personnel changes, athletic successes, and college placement on a regular basis. Also invite Trustees to special assemblies and encourage them to visit during the school day. When they see the school in action, they can talk knowledgeably about the quality of the students, teachers, and programs.
Maintain personal responsibility for financial management.
Because you are responsible for operating the school, the Board holds you accountable for prudent fiscal management. Establish a strong and trusting relationship with your Business Manager or CFO. Work together to establish accurate income and expense projections, stay within budgets and timelines, use short-term cash wisely, and invest properly for long-term success.
Prioritize Board and committee meetings.
Board meetings are times when the whole Board comes together. Each meeting is the perfect time to influence the Board’s operations and demonstrate your skill as a leader. Preparing effectively for each Board meeting is essential to ensure they are efficient and inspire progress.
Communicate your vision for the school.
The Board selected you as School Head because your philosophy fits the school’s mission and your skills help drive it forward. You are in the school each day and you see firsthand what’s working and what needs attention. Use your leadership skills and pick your battles. Educate your Board on what you’re seeing, and work together to determine next steps to best achieve your strategic plan’s goals. If you can infuse inspiration and vision into the school’s objectives, you can increase the Board’s (and the school community’s) inclination to follow your lead.
Looking for more leadership tips? Join our webinar, Actions That Can Make You a Better Leader, to learn what it takes to increase quality student experiences, become a strong mentor and coach for faculty and staff, and set and achieve personal leadership goals.
Additional Resources for ISM Members:
I&P Vol. 28 No. 12 Generational Differences and Leadership in Your School
I&P Vol. 38 No. 7 Distributed Leadership in the 21st Century School