School board leadership has changed: Are you keeping up?

Leading a school district is, well, different than it used to be. Through no fault of their own, the last two years have served to blur the lines between the role of the Board of Education and the superintendent/CEO in particular.

Thanks to derisive decisions on topics like masks, the Board of Education has become a much more public-facing body. So how do you make sure you, as superintendent/CEO, are leading effectively, and your Board of Education is meeting the community’s expectations? Here are a few tips.

  • Make sure roles are understood. Generally speaking, the Board’s primary role is to establish policies. Policies should not be originated or changed, however, without your recommendation. The superintendent’s job, on the other hand, is to administer the policies. You should have the latitude to determine the best method for implementing the policies of the Board.
  • Build trust. Trust begins with authentic communication. Providing weekly updates from your administrative team, meeting with Board members one-on-one on a consistent basis, and using outside resources such as legal counsel when needed, are all ways to do this.
  • Provide resources. Provide your Board with a list of key contacts across the district so they can direct the public accordingly when they receive questions/comments. You may even want to provide media training for instances where they may be put on the spot.

Most importantly, remember that you share the same goals: protecting the district’s brand and providing a well-rounded education to students. Checking in with your community regularly is also a sign of a good leader. You can do this through a community satisfaction survey or by establishing a Key Communicators Group.

Learn more on this topic at the BASA Fall Conference on Oct. 4-5! Dublin City Schools Superintendent John Marschhausen and I will share how to lead in a crisis, the most effective way to use social media, and how to build a succession plan for your Board of Education. See you there!

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