Return on Investments for School Board Service

By Doug Eadie

As a most likely unpaid volunteer who dedicates considerable time and energy to your school board’s governing work, you have every right to think about your return on investment (ROI) in terms of nonmonetary compensation for the hours you devote to the job.

At the head of the list, of course, is the satisfaction that comes from playing a meaningful role in doing high-impact governing work that makes a significant difference in your district’s affairs, especially in terms of student achievement. Long experience has taught me, however, that you can build certain features into the design of your board’s governing work that will enrich your ROI and deepen your satisfaction and commitment. Many boards around the country have successfully implemented governing processes that:

• Enable board members to grow in leadership knowledge and skills through their governing work.

• Ensure that board members experience significant satisfaction.

• Make sure that governing work includes a large dollop of fun along with a minimum of needless suffering.


You have a right to expect to grow in terms of your leadership capacity through your school board service. At the very least you should expect to acquire knowledge and skills that will make you a more effective participant on other boards in your community, or perhaps at the state and national levels.

Participating in well-designed governing processes will ensure that you learn a lot, but many board members I have worked with pay closer attention to their own growth process. A good place to start is to inventory your own leadership skills and knowledge, identify areas that you need to strengthen, and attempt to steer your board work in directions that will accomplish your learning goals.

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