Resources

Superintendent and board chair dialogue

Keeping the lines of communication open between the board chair and the superintendent benefits the entire board and school district. Following are some suggested discussion topics that could help smooth the working relationship and clarify issues of mutual importance.

  • How can we better support new board members? Whose role is it? To what extent can the board expect the superintendent to be involved? How does the board/superintendent team deal with a difficult board member? Whose responsibility is it?
  • How should the team deal with public criticism or concerns about change? What is our expectation regarding superintendent and board members supporting a final decision of the board?
  • What are the responsibilities of the board and superintendent in sharing information? How much and what should be communicated to the board? Who is going to manage information in the age of technology? Should any controls exist? How will we know everyone on the team has the same information? Can a social relationship enhance communication and understanding?
  • How can we better organize the workload of the board to ensure that ‘things’ get done? How do we plan the meeting agenda? Should the board adopt a calendar of business so things get done during transitions in personnel? Should board committees be used? If so, what are their respective functions? Do they encourage micromanagement?
  • How and when should a superintendent job description and evaluations be developed to reflect results-oriented evaluation? Can the model be a catalyst for improved relations? What about board self-evaluations? How do the two blend or work together?
  • Are we truly pursuing a policy versus an implementation role for the board? Are we encouraging the board to be involved at the vision and goal-setting level? Is the board working towards ends or means?
  • What are the roles and responsibilities of the board chair? What is the role of the superintendent in working with the board? How are they parallel? How can we prevent those roles from becoming a controlling power versus leadership service?