Sunday, October 10, 2010

Charter School Board Presidents

Friday there will be a first-ever meeting of charter school board presidents. Charter school boards are where the buck stops and board presidents are the leaders of that group of visionaries who lead the charter school.

The board president has many responsibilities including leading meetings, being the primary communication hub between the administration and board, setting the meeting agenda, authorizing contracts, enforcing bylaws, and ensuring the rest of the board is adequately prepared. Until now, many board presidents have been without a resource in which to rely when those odd scenarios arise.

What should the board do about an administrator who is insubordinate? Does a group of employees all need to be invited into a board executive session if they will be discussed? What can be done about a board member who doesn't prepare for meetings? Who speaks with two board members who continue to cross the line in airing their differences during board meetings? The board wants to interview a prospective principal candidate, can they do that in executive session?

These and many more questions are answered in the newly written "Board President's Handbook" that will be released this Friday at the first Board President's Council meeting held at Vanguard Classical School in Aurora. The meeting will go from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

In addition to getting some higher level information for governing boards, attendees will be able to problem-solve sample scenarios with others who lead their charter school boards. This "second level" of charter school board governance focuses on all of the unique situations charter schools have faced. It allows charter school leaders the opportunity to think through how to handle a scenario before they're involved in it.

Many people don't know how to effectively handle a situation without the experience of living through it and either learning from mistakes made or else, hopefully, the situation working itself out correctly. The President's Council will offer the shared wisdom and experience of others who have already been faced with many of the dilemmas that crop up in charter schools.

The charter school board president often carries the weight of the school on his or her shoulders. This person inherently knows the vision for the school and is searching for others who can help implement that vision. It's often a lonely responsibility along with the school's administrator. Now these board presidents will have the support of others in their same role.

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