What is the role of the Board of Trustees?
The leadership at St. Paul's Episcopal Day School recognizes that the effective partnerships that allow our school and our children to grow and thrive are characterized by clearly defined responsibilities, a shared commitment to collaboration, open lines of communication, mutual respect, and a common vision of the goals we will reach together. Understanding the school's structure, and the roles and responsibilities of the various leadership positions, is important to allow community members to most effectively and efficiently interact with the school.School-Church Relationship:
The school and St. Paul's Episcopal Church are one legal entity, but the Church has delegated operational authority of the School to the Board of Trustees. The close relationship between the Church and the School is evident in daily chapel lessons, shared spaces, Friday chapel in the Church, and many common outreach events and services.Board of Trustees:
The Board of Trustees (made up of parents and grandparents of current and former students; the Rector, Senior Warden and other members of the Church; and other committed volunteers) is charged with defining the mission, vision and strategic goals for the school and to then establish the strategic plans and School policies that are consistent with these ideals. The board has a function that is, by design, separated from the daily functioning of the school. The School's Bylaws set for the legal and foundational structure of the School.View BylawsWhat does the Board do?
The Board is primarily focused on strategic planning, budgets and issues that will impact the school and its culture over timeframes measured in years and not semesters. Here are some primary Board responsibilities:
How are Trustees selected?
- Selecting, supporting and evaluating the Head of School: The Board is charged with ensuring that all strategic decisions are aligned with and support the School's mission.
- Keeping the mission of the School: The Board is charged with ensuring that all strategic decisions are aligned with and support the School's mission.
- Strategic planning: In addition to monthly meetings where strategic issues are discussed, the Board also has a half-day strategic planning session each year to focus on long-term planning and prioritization.
- Ensuring financial sustainability of the School: The Board takes a long-term approach to ensure our School will be financially viable for future generations.
- Approving the annual budget and setting tuition: Each year, the Board spends considerable time reviewing and approving the budget for the academic and programmatic needs of the School including our faculty and staff, while trying to keep tuition levels affordable for our families and competitive with other area independent schools.
- Fundraising for the School: The Board is actively involved in School fundraising efforts, such as Endowment Campaigns, Capital Campaigns, and Annual Fund. In fact, the Board has a history of 100% Trustee participation in the Annual Fund.
- Serving as community ambassadors: Trustees support the School and its events, and promote our school in the community. Please feel free to introduce yourself to Trustees when you see them.
- Developing and reviewing Board policies: The Board regularly reviews Board policies, such as the school's Investment Policies and the Financial Aid Policy, to determine if new or revised policies may be necessary or desirable.
- Selecting and orienting new Trustees: Each year the Board selects new Trustees to serve a three-year term, with a focus on bringing a diverse set of backgrounds and still sets to the Board.
The Board of Trustees is a self-perpetuating Board and the Committee on Trustees is responsible for recommending Trustee nominations. Each year, this Committee identifies areas of expertise that are needed on the Board to help the school achieve its strategic priorities and long-term needs, and then with input from the full Board, identifies candidates from the community who possess these skill sets and complement those already represented on the Board. Once candidates have been identified, the Committee determines which candidates best fit the areas of expertise identified as priorities, then meets with these candidates individually to discuss the role of a Trustee and determine their interest in serving and willingness to future the school's mission and strategic goals. Once this process is complete, the Committee recommends nominees to the full Board at the annual meeting in May, and Trustees vote on the nominees. Once elected, Trustees serve for a three-year term, and may be elected to serve a total of two consecutive terms. Ex officio voting Board members include the Rector of the Church and the President of the Board; ex officio non-voting Board members include the Head of School, the Senior Warden of the Church, and the President of the Parents' Guild.How does Board work get done?
What the Board does NOT do:
- Meetings: The board meets monthly, except July and August. The Board President and the Head of School put together the meeting agenda, which includes minutes from the prior meeting, the financial reports, reports from the Head of School and Administrators and Board committee reports. In addition, any items requiring discussion or action are placed on the agenda and often one strategic issue is highlighted for discussion. Sometimes the strategic issue is led by one of the committee chairs about an issue their committee has been working on; other times the strategic discussion centers around a broader issue facing all independent schools.
- Committees: Much of the Board's work is done through its committees. Some committees meet monthly, while others meet on an as needed basis. Committees consist of Trustees, administrators and sometimes include additional members from the community that possess a particular area of expertise. Active committees of the Board include:
- Committee on Trustees: Responsible for governance; for recommending Trustee nominations and orientation of new Trustees; and for the evaluation process for the Head of School and the Board. Also responsible for scheduling and planning the Board strategic planning workshop with the Head of School.
- Development Committee: Responsible for all areas of fundraising including student, faculty, Parents' Guild, and any other groups that support the school. (This committee works with the Development Director and the Parents' Guild President is a member of this committee.)
- Finance Committee: Responsible for reporting on the overall management and supervision of the financial affairs of the school; and for preparation of the annual school budget. This committee also oversees the management of the endowment fund investment and operating reserves.
- Task Forces: Recently, the Bylaws were amended to include only the above essential working committees. Other formal standing committees were eliminated and instead the Board will appoint special purpose task forces or committees as needed, with specific goals and expectations based on the strategic plan. Recently, the Board appointed two new task forces: Strategic Enrollment task force and Middle School Experience task force.
The Board is not responsible for the day-to-day school operations and program decisions. The Head of School is responsible for handling issues relating to curriculum, program, faculty and staff. The Administration carries out this responsibility daily in a manner that is in the best interest of students, faculty, parents, administration and the community, and consistend with the school's overall mission, vision, and strategic goals. The Board does not become directly involved in these areas, but Trustees are always happy to listen to your feedback and questions, and will strive to help connect you to the most direct information or answer to your question. As a general rule, most questions and concerns are best resolved at the most direct and intimate level, before bringing the matter up the line. While the Board President has a role in addressing issues that cannot be resolved at the school level, those issues are extremely rare. If you have a specific Board related issue or question, you may submit it in writing to the Head of School or Board President.