Concepts of Good Governance Worth Thinking About

David Koetje, President and CEO of Christian Schools International writes:

I have been privileged to work for several school boards over the years, and in my current job I interact with board members throughout North America. While it may be true that there are no leadership absolutes when suggesting ideals, there are certainly lessons that others have learned that are worth sharing. This is particularly true in the ever-spinning world of education, where good governance is foundational to our mission.

In his book The Board Game, William Mott highlights several lessons that are worth considering. What follows is a sample taken from his book:

1. The board must be unanimous in its decision to hire a principal or head of school.

2. Executive sessions are destructive to the relationship between the principal and the board.

3. Trustees who find themselves in conflict with the administration regarding operational issues must either recuse themselves from the matter or step off the board.

4. Bullying on the part of board members, failure to publicly speak one unified voice, and persistent absenteeism are all diseases that must be addressed by the board chair.

5. Secret board meetings demonstrate the worst possible behavior.

6. Once a process has been established and decisions made, reversing a decision simply because someone disagrees is unacceptable.

7. It is critical that the principal be a part of the process of selecting new trustees.

8. It is not the responsibility of the board to address concerns parents bring to them.

9. Staff members who complain to a board member without first trying to resolve the issue internally may be guilty of insubordination.

10. The principal or the appropriate staff should always make personnel decisions.

In this list are lessons for all of us. With a clear vision for their work, boards will be able to work with leadership to forge a new future for Christian education.



Filed under Governance

2 Responses to Concepts of Good Governance Worth Thinking About

  1. Bruce Hekman

    Great advice, David! Do you recommend this book as board training material?

    • Dave Koetje

      The book would provide great reading for new trustees prior to their board orientation session. It also could serve as a great resource for board chair and head of school as together they provide leadership.

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