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How To Orient Your Governing Board Members

Hey my name is Tom Miller and I have been a consultant, trainer and coach for charter school boards since 2012. I have also been a board member since 2015 and there is one thing I have found to be true…

If you want to be a highly effective governing charter school board then you need to be intentional with every aspect of your board, especially board member orientation.  

Here is what I mean.

My first experience as a charter school board member was similar to a middle school dance. I walked in, looked for someone I knew, and sat down. I NEVER hope for an ice breaker activity, but for the first time in my life, something corny like a get-to-know-you-game may have done the trick.  

When I was elected to the board, I was also elected as the Secretary and Chair of the Governance Committee (huge mistake!). Can I share with you what a challenge it was to take meeting minutes when I didn’t know the majority of the board members' names?

I would be lying if I...

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Want Shorter and More Productive Board Meetings?

governance Feb 25, 2020

As a public charter school consultant and trainer the question I get most often is, how do we make our board meetings shorter and more productive?

The answer is pretty simple in theory, but getting there takes focus.

Focus on what is most important. 

Since 2012 I have researched and studied effective governance practices. The last five years I have served on a charter school board as governance chair and two years as the board chair.

Here is what I learned.

If you do not prepare on the front end you will be repairing on the back end.

The key to facilitating an effective and purposeful board meeting begins with the setting of the monthly agenda.   

Who Sets the agenda?

The agenda is a collaborative process set by the head of the school and the board chair. 

When is the agenda set?

The development of the next months agenda begins at the end of the previous board meeting.

At the close of the meeting the board chair should:

  1. Ask who is taking minutes to...
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Why Are You Really Asking Me This Question?

I believe that asking questions is the most powerful tool in leadership. 

In John Maxwell’s Good Leaders Ask Great Questions, he notes: 

  • Questions unlock and open doors that otherwise remain closed.  
  • Questions are the most effective means of connecting with people.  
  • Questions cultivate humility.  
  • Questions help you to engage others in conversation. 
  • Questions allow you to build better ideas.  
  • Questions give you a different perspective.  
  • Questions challenge mind-sets and get you out of ruts

All of these points seem like excellent reasons why people should not only ask but also encourage others to ask questions because good questions inform and great questions transform. 

However, lately, I have seen many relationships go awry because the individual being questioned  has interpreted the inquiry as an attack rather than a simple means to attain more information and clearer understanding.

I have...

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How to Hold Effective Board Meetings

As a governance coach and consultant the question I get most often is, how do we keep our board meetings on track? The answer is the pretty simple.

Focus on what is most important. 

I have learned the hard way, as a consultant and a board chair, that if you do not prepare on the front end you will be repairing on the back end.

One of the keys to facilitating an effective and purposeful board meeting begins with the setting of the monthly agenda.   

Who Sets the agenda?

The agenda is a collaborative process set by the head of the school and the board chair. 

When is the agenda set?

The development of the next months agenda begins at the end of the previous board meeting. At At the close of the meeting the board chair should:

  1. Ask who is taking minutes to state the discussion items from this meeting that will need to be action items next month.  
  2. Review the school’s Strategic Outcomes Based Calendar and note any reports or items due next...
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