What Makes a Great School Board Member?
What makes a school board effective? Learn what qualities to look for in a successful school board member.
By GreatSchools Staff
An effective school board plays an important watchdog role in keeping your local school on track, and setting policies that affect your child and your school. The school board sets the vision and goals for the school district, and holds the district accountable for results. One school board member cannot do the job alone. Effective school board members contribute their unique talents while collaborating and working as a team with other board members.
What Do School Boards Do?
Communities typically elect a school board of three, five or seven trustees to oversee the local school district and make certain the desires of the community are met.
The school board's primary responsibilities are to:
- Set the vision and goals for the district
- Adopt policies that give the district direction to set priorities and achieve its goals
- Hire and evaluate the superintendent
- Adopt and oversee the annual budget
- Manage the collective bargaining process for employees of the district
A typical school board meeting will include many business items, such as approving the school calendar, adopting curriculum, overseeing construction, and approving contracts with outside vendors. A successful school board will balance discussion of the seemingly tedious business of running the district while paying close attention to the district's priorities for academic achievement.
School Board Members Who Have Made a Difference
These two school board members, one a leader in a large urban district and the other an integral part of a suburban district board, exemplify how school board members can have an important influence on the direction of their districts.