Trustee Governance: Beyond the Basics

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Trustee Governance: Beyond the Basics

  • IE & VAIS Head of School/Board Chair Program
  • September 27, 2011

Trustee Governance: Beyond the Basics


Structure For The Morning

  • Part I – Challenges for Independent Schools – Why Leadership is Needed.
  • Part II – NAIS Boards. How Are They Organized?
  • Part III – Proposal for Governance as Partnership: A New Model.
  • Part IV – Three Levels of Governance
    • Fiduciary
    • Strategic
    • Generative
    • LUNCH

Developing the Board (Board Member, May 2004, Chait et al.)

        • The SAT Analogy:
        • Our board is to our school
        • as is to .

Universities Seeking Out Students of Means (NYT, 9.20.11) “Money is talking a bit louder in college admission these days, according to a survey released by Inside Higher Ed . . . More than a quarter of the admission directors said they had felt pressure from senior-level administrators to admit certain applicants, and almost a quarter got pressure from trustees or development officers.”


    • JEC – Each track has important BOT education.

Implications for Board-Head Work (Chait, CHE, 1.9.11)

  • “The reality is, when the president mismanages, the board fires the president. When the board mismanages, the board fires the president.”

Competition for Independent Schools (Nat’l Center for Ed. Statistics, 2010)

  • Between 1999-2009, charter schools quadrupled. Grew from 1297 to 5043 schools.
  • Served 1.5 million children in 2009.
  • 2400 magnet schools serving 1.2 million students (2007-2008).
  • 3300 additional schools with magnet programs enrolling 3.1 million students (2007-2008).
  • 200,000 virtual charter schools in 27 states (WSJ, 7.18.11)

Homeschooling More Popular (Nat’l Center for Ed. Statistics, 2008)

  • 1999 – 850,000 students homeschooled.
  • 2007 – 1.5 million students (76% increase)
  • 2008-2009 - between 1.9 and 2.5 million children home-educated, with an annual growth between 5 and 12% over the last few years (Nat’l Home Education Research Institute, 2009)

On Line Schooling Grows (Picciano & Seamon, 2009)

  • 2007-2008 – More than 1 million K-12 students enrolled in on-line courses. 47% increase ‘05-’06.
  • APEX Learning. 8400 students in AP courses (2004). 30,200 in AP courses in ’07.
  • “The data suggest by 2019, 50% of high school courses will be delivered online. Within a few years, after a long period of incubation, the world is likely to begin flipping rapidly to student-centric technology.” (Christensen, 2008).

For AP Students, a New Classroom Is Online (WSJ, 4.20.11)

  • A record 1.99 million high school students are expected to take AP exams in 2011. Up from 600,000 in 2000.
  • 90% of US colleges and universities offer some form of college credit.
  • .5% of AP classes taken online.
  • “The College Board says there isn’t any significant difference in average test scores between students from traditional versus online classrooms.”
  • JEC Question – Why pay IS tuitions? Go to a good charter school and take APs online!

Math Instruction Goes Viral (BG, 8.12.11)

  • Web-based Khan Academy’s free instructional videos are viewed by 14 million people annually and have been translated into 7 languages (
  • 2400 videos on specific concepts at many levels of math from arithmetic to calculus and beyond.
  • Students learn math at their own pace while watching at home. Then come to school for individual work with teachers. On screen dashboard tells teachers who needs help and who can move on.
  • Bill Gates invests $1.5 million. Google Foundation gives $2m.

Growing Presence of Internet (Pew Research Center Survey 2009)

  • “More than 90% of children ages 12-17 use the Internet and nearly three-quarters of them are on social networking web sites”
  • Boys 91%; Girls 94%
  • White 87%; Black 87%; Hispanic 95%
  • $30,000 - $49,999 = 88%; $50,000 - $74,999 = 96%; $75,000+ = 97%

Students Find Ways to Thwart Facebook Bans (NYT, 9.2.11)

  • “When Tom McKay realized his son had figured out how to get on the social networking site even though his New Jersey middle school had blocked it, he asked the boy in astonishment how he had done it?”
  • ‘Pretty easy, Dad,’ his son retorted. ‘Don’t be an idiot. We know more about computers than the teachers do.’
  • How To Get Their Attention?

Could Those Hours Online Be Making Kids Nicer? (WSJ, 8.16.11)

  • Digital communication can lead to more or better friendships online and off, greater honesty, faster intimacy and an increased sense of belonging.
  • People use digital communication to interact with people they are closest to offline, not with strangers.
  • More time college students spent on Facebook, more empathy they expressed online and in real life (APA, 2011).
  • 40% of teenagers reported bullying in person. Fewer than 20% said bullying occurred online, by phone or by texting.

Online Public University Plans to Turn Indiana’s Dropouts into Graduates (CHE, 3.18.11)

  • “Last summer the state of Indiana opened its eighth public university without constructing a student union, a dormitory, or a single academic building. Western Governors University Indiana, doesn’t even have traditional courses. But the University has nearly 1,200 students and will hold its second graduation in August.” (CHE, 3.18.11)

UNC Makes Risky Online Bet (WSJ, 7.07.11)

  • “The University of North Carolina’s Business School is taking its brand online. The business school this Monday launched an online M.B.A. with 19 students dubbed MBA@UNC. . . It is the first online program of its kind from a top-20 U.S. business school. . . UNC school officials believe that in 20 years most business schools will want to get into this space. . . And see an opportunity to give the school the global reach viewed as critical in today’s environment.”
  • Admission standards just as high as on-campus MBA
  • MBA@UNC tuition = $89,000 over two years. Non-resident traditional tuition = $98,000. Resident tuition = $52,000.

Howard Goes Online With Executive MBA (WSJ, 7.07.11)

  • “Washington, D.C.-based Howard University’s School of Business is introducing an online-only, 18 month Executive MBA program set to begin in January. . . The online program will offer courses with an eye toward global business trends, including executive roundtable forums and the option to visit international markets such as China and South Africa.”

A College Education for All, Free and Online (CHE, 7.15.11)

  • University of the People (UoPeople) – enrolled 1,000 students in 115 countries.
  • Students must have a high-school diploma & proficient in English. Application fees between $10.00-$15.00.
  • Uses free, open-access resources for 2 courses of study, business administration and computer science.
  • “In June, New York University announced that it would consider applications from students who complete a year at UoPeople.”

More Pupils Learning Online, Fueling Debate on Quality (NYT, 4.05.11)

  • “Critics say online education goal - spend less on teachers and buildings.
  • Department of Education 2009 – benefits for college students online. Few rigorous studies at K-12 level. “. . . Lack scientific evidence of effectiveness of online classes.”
  • Memphis City Schools require all students to take an online course to graduate. Prepare students for college online courses.
  • Virtual High School Global Consortium has 770 client schools, up 34% in 2 years.

Virtual and Artificial, but 58,000 Want Course (NYT, 8.15.11)

  • Stanford University – free online course on AI
  • 58,000 signed up. 4X size of Stanford student body
  • Taught by 2 of the world’s best-known AI experts (Norvig & Thrun)
  • Inspired by work of Khan Academy
  • Use both streaming Internet video and interactive technologies for quizzes and grading

Stanford Course on AI (NYT, 8.15.11)

  • “I personally would like to see the equivalent of a Stanford computer science degree on the Web.”
  • “I’m much more interested in bringing Stanford to the world. I see the developing world having colossal educational needs.” Dr. Sebastian Thrun – co-instructor of AI course.

Professors Cede Grading Power to Outsiders & Computers (CHE, 8.12.11)

  • Eliminate grade inflation by taking professors out of the process.
  • Hire professional evaluators who do not know students. No temptation to skew results.
  • U. of Central Florida – outsourcing the scoring of some essay tests to computers. Software grades essays without emotional biases.

In Case You Wondered, a Real Human Wrote This (NYT, 9.10.11)

  • “Wisconsin appears to be in the driver’s seat en route to a win, as it leads 51-10 after the third quarter. “
  • Written by a computer.
  • Narrative Science Co – start-up in Evanston, IL using the ability of computers to mimic human reasoning with AI.

Don’t Despair, Montessori to the Rescue (B.Globe, 8.26.11)

  • Montessori Alumni
    • Wikipedia founder – Jimmy Wales
    • – Jeff Bezos
    • SimCity – Will Wright
    • Google – Larry Page & Sergey Brin
    • “Brain research shows that all the characteristics Internet entrepreneurs value – divergent and innovative thinking, intellectual self reliance . . . are the primary focus of Montessori classroom. Mistakes are opportunities to learn.”

Online Enterprises Gain Foothold as Path to College Degree (NYT, 8.25.11)

  • “Given the exploding technologies, cuts to university budgets, and the expanding pool of people expected to earn postsecondary degrees, there is no end in sight for programs preparing students for careers in high-demand areas like business, computer science, health care and criminal justice.”
  • Caution: Teachers College study. Tracks 51,000 community college students in Washington State for 5 years.
    • Those with most online course credits least likely to graduate or transfer to a four-year institution.

10 Year NAIS Enrollment Data (StatsOnline, 2010)

  • In 2000, 60% of NAIS schools increase; 40% lost.
  • In 2010, only 40%increase; 60% lost enrollment
  • In 2009, the median NAIS school lost 4% enrollment.
  • NAIS schools increase spending on FA by 17.4% in 2009-2010. Access vs. Affordability
  • Last 7 Years, FA recipients: 20.6% to 23.7%

NAIS Need-Based Grants (NAIS Trendbook, 2011-2012)

  • 08-09 09-10 10-11
  • Av.Grant $12,882 $12,801 $12,292
  • % of Students 18.7 21 24
  • # of Students 98,360 105,761 125,115
  • The decline in the average need-based grant while tuition growth remains positive suggests that high-need packages are being sacrificed for lower-need packages. The increase in the number of students aided and in the percentage of students aided suggest that the prevalence of full-paying families is shrinking. More aid to needier students is down?

ENROLLMENT DATA FOR AISGW (from Independent Education, 2011)

  • Year # Schools Total Enrollment
  • 1995 80 27,701
  • 2000 81 32,505
  • 2005 85 34,606
  • 2010 83 32,818

Enrollment Data for VAIS (from VAIS, 2011)

  • VAIS History
  • Year # Schools Total Enrollment
  • 1995 67 24,744
  • 2000 72 29,183
  • 2005 85 29,527
  • 2010 87 30,619

Economy Challenges Schools (Taylor, Pew Research Center, 2010)

  • Net worth/household peaked in 2006; dropped by 24% in 2008 as a result of falling stock and home prices.
  • Median wealth of upper income households <12%.
  • Median wealth of middle income, dependent on home equity <23%.

Economic Impact on NAIS Schools

  • 1990 – median tuition at day schools = 22% of median income of a family with children
  • 2005 – median tuition at day schools = 32% of median income of a family
  • 2009 – median tuition at day schools = 38% of median income
  • (NAIS Core Sample Tuition Statistics, 1990-2011; U.S. Census Bureau, from NAIS Trendbook 2011-2012)

Impact of Recession on FA (NAIS Trendbook, 2001-2011)

  • Fastest growing segment of SSS families earn >$150,000.
    • ’03 = 6.4% of filers; ‘09 = 17.3% of filers.
    • Middle income families ($60,000 - $80,000) dropped to 14.1% Filers (‘09) from 17.2% (‘03)
    • Lowest income families (<$40,000) dropped from 28.9% (‘03) to 21.3% (‘09).

Distribution of Income Among FA Applicants (NAIS Trendbook 2011-2012)

  • $0-$26,934 9.6
  • $26,935-$47,914 13.8
  • $47,915-$73,338 18.0
  • $73,339-$112,540 23.5
  • Over $112,540 35.1
  • Top 5% of income earning families ($200,000+) represent nearly 10% of financial aid filers (May, 2011).

BOT Challenges Are Here

  • Admission – More Competition.
  • Financial Aid – Accessibility versus Affordability. “Even Wealthy Suburb Faces Pressure to Curb School Taxes,” (NYT, 3.09.11)
  • Curriculum & Standards: Bipartisan Group Backs Common School Curriculum. (NYT, 3.7.11). Westminster College, UT
  • Recruiting, Retaining, Evaluating “High Quality” Teachers. Teach for America versus Graduates of Colleges of Education! Florida Teacher Pay>Performance (NYT, 3.09011)
  • How “Green” and “Global Are You?

Parents and BOT Challenges

  • “In our private school survey, about 40% of the students identified getting into a ‘good college’ as more important than being a ‘good person,’ and nearly 50% said it was more important to their parents that they get into a good college than that they be good people.”
  • Weissbourd, Richard. The Parents We Mean To Be: How Well-Intentioned Adults Undermine Children’s Moral and Emotional Development, 2010.
  • The pressure to do well is up, the demand to do good is down, NYT, 11.27.2005

Push for A’s at Private Schools Keeping Costly Tutors Busy (NYT, 6.07.11)

  • Private SAT tutors have been de rigueur at elite New York private schools for a generation, but the proliferation of subject-matter tutors for students angling for A’s is a newer phenomenon that is beginning to incite a backlash. Interviews . . . suggest that more than half of the students at the city’s top-tier schools hire tutors, an open secret that the schools seem unable to stop. . . . What is troubling to those trying to curtail academic tutoring is that instead of remedial help for struggling students, more and more of it seems to be for those trying to get ahead in the intensely competitive college-application race.

‘Tiger Mother’ Roars: Daughter in at Harvard, Yale. (Bloomberg News Service, 4.2.11)

  • The daughter of Amy Chua, author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother has been accepted to Harvard University and Yale University. “I don’t know if this had anything to do with my parenting method,” Chua said. “Sophia did it 100% herself.”

Manhattan Mom Sues $19K/Yr. Preschool for Damaging 4-year-old. NYDaily News, 3.14.11

  • “A Manhattan mom is suing a pricey preschool for dumping her ‘very smart’ 4 year old with tykes half her age and boring her with lessons about shapes and colors. In court papers filed today the suit suggests XXXXX Preschool jeopardized little XXXXX’s chances of getting into an elite private school or, one day, the Ivy League. . . At the school’s campus, where many kids were being picked up by nannies pushing luxury strollers, parents were wary of speaking with a reporter yesterday, saying it could endanger their kids’ slots.”

AP Credits May Lead to UNC Masters (Charlotte Observer, 4.02.11)

  • “For those students with the drive and ability, leaving in four years with a master’s is a better bargain than with a bachelor’s.” (UNC Academic Planning Committee)
  • “We have really talented students . . . and the prospect of doing more than one thing in four years will appeal to some students.” (UNC Chancellor’s Office)
  • “If advertised correctly, it could be a valuable recruiting tool. They should market it down to the ninth and 10th grades.” (American Association of State Colleges and Universities)

Putting Parents in Charge (NYT, 9.17.11)

  • Parent Trigger legislation
        • CA, TX, MS. Proposed in 20 states including NY
        • In failing schools, 51% parents can demand administrative change or charter school creation.
        • Research? Center for Reinventing Public Education at U. of Washington.
        • Studied school choice in Hartford.
        • Schools with highest level of parent satisfaction were often ones with lowest academic achievement.
        • Parents don’t know when their choices are bad.
        • Implications for IS?

"I just wanted to stop by to thank you for the job you've done with our child. We know he's just slightly below average in intelligence, as we are, so the fact that he's learned anything here is amazing to us.”

  • "I just wanted to stop by to thank you for the job you've done with our child. We know he's just slightly below average in intelligence, as we are, so the fact that he's learned anything here is amazing to us.”
  • “We’re thrilled that his class includes that one disruptive kid and that his teacher has strong opinions on matters we disagree with.”
  • “We applaud that decision you made, in the name of diversity, to change the 35 year old traditional Christmas pageant to a winter festival.”
  • “By the way, don't you think we should have one or two more annual fundraisers so that we can supplement that12% increase in tuition with some real money?"
  • (from Bassett, NAIS)
  • Headmaster Fantasy of the Ideal Parent

A Non-Profit Board is Comprised of an Incompetent Group of Competent People

  • Invited to Join Board – Good at Something Else.
  • We Must be Taught How to Play This Game.
  • Preferably Instruction Begins Before We Are Sent to the Playing Field!

A Governance Model With Different Assumptions

  • “Trustees and staff who regard governing as little more than bright people using common sense and doing what comes naturally probably read no further than this Preface.” (Chait, Ryan & Taylor, Governance As Leadership: Reframing the Work of Nonprofit Boards, 2005).

Composition of NAIS Boards (The State of Independent School Governance, NAIS, 2006)

  • 60% MALE
  • 88% 36-55 YEARS OLD
  • 28% OVER 55
  • 20% ARE ALUMS


  • “Parents bring a deep personal interest in the school. However, they can be focused on the present, generalize from their children’s experiences, and become more involved in operational matters. NAIS recommends 50% or less being current parents. Such boards, experience shows, have all the zeal of parent-driven boards, but less preoccupation with the present and more future-focused, strategic orientation.” (DeKuyper, NAIS Trustee Handbook, 2003).

Business Not Best Preparation for BOT

  • In a 2006 survey of 1,500 trustees at 1,000 colleges, “trustees working in the corporate sphere reported lower levels of preparedness than those working in education.” Effective boards need both business people and educators.
  • Best preparation – having served on another non-profit board. (Chronicle, 4/29/10).

NAIS Board Committees (The State of Independent School Governance, NAIS, 2006)

  • 98% Finance Committee
  • 94% Development
  • 89% Executive
  • 88%% Governance
  • 83% Building & Grounds
  • 40% Education

NAIS BOT Terms (The State of Independent School Governance, NAIS, 2006)

  • 81% three-year terms. 83% are renewable
  • 33% Chair for 1 Year
  • 33% Chair for 2 Years
  • 33% Chair for 3 Years
  • Most Board Chair terms are renewable
  • 58% of trustees served 6 years or more.

Written Job Description & Clarity

  • “Prospective board members should receive a written explanation of the board member’s roles and responsibilities along with a board member’s job description. This information will help prevent misunderstandings, and provide a basis for the board’s assessment of its performance.” (Lakey, Nonprofit Governance: Steering Your Organization with Authority and Accountability, 2002).

Perception of Roles – Caution (The State of Independent School Governance, NAIS, 2006)

  • 99% oversight body assuring accountability of the organization
  • 98%group to give support to the chief executive
  • 94% fundraising
  • 82% community ambassador for school
  • CAUTION 52% group representative of those you serve!


  • An Issue That is Big, Tough & Fuzzy
  • Board As Monitor to Board As Partner
  • Boards and Heads Honor Each Other’s Roles
  • Boundaries Are Blurred
  • Some Decisions Are Shared
  • It’s Doubles Tennis – If Either Gets Territorial, Both Will Lose

Trustees Acting Independently

  • “Difficulties ensue not because trustees think independently, a quality of effective boards, but because trustees proceed independently, based on a self-declared role and self-determined scope of authority.” (Chait, CHE, 2.17.06)

Problem Solving via Strategic Governance

  • Needed: Three Levels of Trusteeship
  • Level I: Fiduciary (auditing function of oversight and assessment of mission & finance)
  • Level II: Strategic (leadership function: “less management/more governance” via scanning and planning)
  • Level III: Generative (visionary function of shared leadership, R&D orientation for imagining and experimenting).
  • (Bassett, NAIS)

Chait’s Traditional Type I Board

  • Ensure organization’s assets are conserved and optimized. Oversight of budgets, audits, finances.
  • Ensure resources are used effectively in service of the mission. Ask not just whether but also how effectively used – performance measurement.
  • Promote lawful and ethical behavior. Ensure compliance with standards of safety, legality.

Traditional Fiduciary Oversight

  • “. . . having a budget on the table can seduce otherwise large minded people to become trivial.”
  • Source - J. Carver, “Redefining the Board’s Role in Fiscal Planning.” Nonprofit Management and Leadership, Winter, 1991

Fiduciary Oversight to Fiduciary Inquiry. Extract Leadership Value (Chait, 2005)

  • Did we get a clean audit?
  • Is the budget balanced?
  • Increase budgets by 2-3%?
  • How much $$ do we need to raise?
  • Can we secure the gift?
  • Is faculty/staff turnover reasonable?
  • What did we learn from audit?
  • Does budget reflect priorities?
  • Move $$ from other programs?
  • What’s the case for raising the money?
  • How will gift advance mission?
  • Do we treat faculty/staff fairly?

Extracting Leadership – The B&G Committee Agenda

  • Approve contract to repair a roof. Endorse bidding process for parking lot pavement.
  • Instead: What’s the deferred maintenance policy?
  • What’s our policy on underfunded depreciation?
  • Have we consensus on questions of intergenerational equity – trade-off between funding today’s needs and tomorrow’s. Science lab contribution from parents of seniors & juniors?

Problems with Type I Board (Chait, 2005)

  • Urgent drives out the important
  • Stress on efficiency replaces quest for effectiveness
  • Board adds value to the technical core, not core purpose of organization
  • Board work predictable and perfunctory. Board members spectators
  • Routine prevents larger views of governance

When Boards Act In Strategic Mode – Level II

  • Establish School’s Mission
  • Create Strategic Planning Process:
    • Review The Mission
    • Assess Current Goals/Status of Programs
    • Plan Appropriate Changes in Programs
    • Create Targets/Instruments to Measure Changes
    • Implement The Plan

RULE BREAKERS, NOT RULE TAKERS (Hamel & Prahalad, 1997)

  • “Strategic planning seldom provides any insights into how to rewrite industry rules. It seldom stretches to encompass the threat from nontraditional competition. It seldom forces managers to confront their potentially out of date conventions. It always starts with ‘what is.’ It seldom starts with ‘what could be.’

Bottleneck at the Top (Hamel, Harvard Business Review, July 1996)

  • “Senior executives are the least likely to imagine or advocate dramatic organizational changes because they have the largest investment in the past, and the greatest reverence for industrial dogma. The capacity for strategic innovation increases proportionally with each mile you move away from headquarters.” (JEC BOT meetings?)
  • JEC – what do the young faculty have to say?
  • JEC – U of Phoenix. Largest univ. in world (250,000)

Governing Boards Should Look Beyond Alums (CHE, 4.29.10)

  • False assumption alums better prepared to serve. Better prepared to serve than peers in one category: campus politics.
  • “Alumni trustees often suffer from blind loyalty. They tend to live in the past. Seek out a diverse set of trustees. Bring some fresh air into the deliberations.” (Bornstein, CHE, 4.29.10)
  • JEC – Which cohort is the equivalent of alumni trustees, serving as ‘bottlenecks’ in innovation?


  • Trustees Want to Make a Difference
  • Reacting to Staff Reports Not Engaging
  • Monitoring and Oversight Tasks = The Substitute Teacher’s Responsibility:
    • Maintain Order
    • Meet Minimum Standards
    • Don’t Teach Anything New

Reasons Boards Manage (Govern More, Manage Less. Trower, 2010)

  • Legal requirements dictate Board manage (e.g., leases, contracts, easements, acceptance of gifts).
  • Operational responsibilities may lead the Board to some areas of management (e.g., raise money, recruit and evaluate Head).
  • Lack of staff may require Board to take on management functions.
  • Board loses confidence in Head.
  • Board structured along management lines (what are the strategic imperatives?)

Reasons Boards Manage (Govern More, Manage Less. Trower, 2010)

  • The Board meets too often
  • Governance is not their day job, but management is (want to call the shots and make the decisions).
  • Board members recruited for their business skills (communications or legal…is this pro bono staff role?).
  • Board members relish the sense of accomplishment that comes with management (step in to solve crisis -hard to withdraw! Strategy and policy debates not as fulfilling and more obtuse))


  • Governance As Partnership
    • Instead of asking, “What do you think of management’s plan,” the board is asked, “What is your thinking about the organization’s future?”


  • How far will we go in the athletic facilities arms race? What might we do instead?
  • What’s the place of on-line learning in our school? What does it say about our models of student-faculty interactions?
  • What steps can we take as a school to alter our image as “elitist” and not accessible to all who could benefit from an IS education?


    • B&G


  • AMBIGUITY – could be multiple interpretations of what is going on.
  • SALIENCY – the issue means a great deal to a great many people.
  • STAKES – high because discussion could invoke questions of core values.
  • STRIFE – prospects for confusion, conflict and desire for consensus are high.
  • IRREVERSABILITY – decision cannot easily be reversed.

Triple-Helix Decisions (ambiguity, saliency, stakes, strife, irreversibility)

  • At an independent high school, the stated problem was the need to hire additional psychologists to meet increased student demand for counseling. Board focused on budgetary issues and counselor: student ratios at other schools. After deliberation, staff and board constructed a new version of the problem: whether the school could deliver an intense intellectual experience that did not add to student stress. Parental expectations, and to a lesser extent, overcrowded facilities, and not more counselors, ultimately proved to be the critical variable. (Chait, 2005)

Developing the Board (Board Member, May 2004, Chait et al.)

        • The SAT Analogy:
        • Our board is to our school
        • as is to .

Three Levels of Board Governance (Adapted from Board Member, May 2004, Chait et al.)

  • Board as Control Mechanism (Fiduciary, Oversight: “Doing things right”)
  • Board as Direction Setter (Strategic, Leadership: “Doing the right things”)
  • Board as Meaning Maker (Generative, Visionary: “Leaving a legacy”)
  • Dam : River
  • Curbstone: Road
  • Border Collie : Herd
  • Traffic Tower: Pilot
  • Governor: Engine
  • Landlord: Tenant
  • Anchor: Ship
  • Compass : Navigation
  • Headlights : Auto
  • Guidance System : Satellite
  • Periscope : Submarine
  • Flight Planner : Pilot
  • Rudder : Ship
  • Inspiration : Poet
  • Values : Choices
  • Designer : Work of Art
  • Spirit : Higher Purpose
  • Lighthouse: Ship

Governance Dysfunction “Our board is to our school as . . . “

  • Loose steering wheel is to auto
  • Fingernail is to blackboard
  • Hamster is to wheel
  • Source – Bill Ryan, AISNE Governance Workshop, 2007

Governance as Leadership

  • “The ultimate antidote to micromanagement is macroengagement. If trustees join conversations that concern governance, trustees will govern; when exposed to matters of management, board members will manage.”
  • (R. Chait, “How To Keep Trustees From Being Micromanagers,” CHE, 5.06.05)


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