The Leadership Team

By Doug Eadie

In meetings with K-12 groups, I’m often asked about the line that separates so-called school board “policymaking” from the executive and administrative management functions of the superintendent and senior administrators. Twenty-five years of working with boards and superintendents has taught me that there really isn’t a solid line, not in real life anyway.

Rather than thinking of governing in “us vs. them” (policy vs. administration) terms and assuming you can actually draw hard-and-fast boundaries, it’s far more productive -- and realistic -- to see governing work as a shared activity involving a very fluid division of labor. A well-designed school board committee structure provides an ongoing forum for working through the nuts-and-bolts division of labor in the three key governing areas: planning, monitoring performance, and maintaining relationships with the community and external groups like the chamber of commerce.

One of the preeminent processes for board involvement -- the gold standard for strong board leadership, in my opinion -- is strategic planning. This involves your board making decisions about some truly high-stakes governing “products,” such as:

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