The Importance of Teamwork

By Doug Eadie

I witnessed something in Billings, Mont., a few weeks ago that got to the heart of creative collaboration in the complex K-12 governing enterprise. The strategic governing team of the Billings Public Schools -- the school board, superintendent, and senior administrators -- spent a whole day in a retreat. They brainstormed practical ways to strengthen the board’s governing role, structure, and processes, and to ensure a rock-solid board-superintendent partnership over the long run.

I was especially impressed -- and even inspired -- by one of the six board-led breakout groups, which spent an hour discussing the superintendent’s possible “CEO-specific” leadership targets for the coming year. The idea was to come up with some measures in addition to overall district educational and financial performance that might beef up the board’s evaluation of superintendent performance while also helping to keep the board-superintendent partnership healthy.

By “CEO-specific” targets, they meant the very particular, individual impacts that the superintendent intended to devote significant time of his own to produce, above and beyond his normal chief executive functions. The breakout group focused on four leadership areas:

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