A Superintendent's View on CEO/ Board Relationship

By Doug Eadie

Last month, I shared highlights from a wide-ranging, three-hour discussion of governance and board-superintendent relations with MaryEllen Elia, superintendent of the Hillsborough County Schools in Tampa Bay, Fla.

That column touched on the philosophy Elia brings to her work with the school board, what she sees as her board’s preeminent strengths as a governing body, and her take on why the board found her the most attractive candidate for the district’s top job in 2005.

Here are further highlights from our fascinating afternoon together.

You’ve given me the impression of a very positive and productive working partnership with your board. What are some practical things you do to keep this partnership healthy?
The governing function is one of my top CEO priorities, so I really do pay considerable attention to keeping my working relationship with my board close and positive. Experience has taught me that a solid relationship must be based on mutual respect, and I’m sure that the attitude I bring to my work with the board makes a real difference in terms of building a cohesive board-superintendent team.

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