Cover image for Effective school boards : strategies for improving board performance
Effective school boards : strategies for improving board performance
Smoley, Eugene R.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Francisco : Jossey-Bass Publishers, [1999]

Physical Description:
xxiv, 141 pages : illustrations ; 28 cm.
Making rational decisions. Access and use relevant information. Discuss deliberately. Consider alternative actions. Work toward consensus -- Functioning cohesively as a group. Operate with norms. Demonstrate leadership. Articulate cohesiveness. Act on values. Show respect -- Exercising appropriate authority. Act with defined roles. Take initiative. Overrule the superintendent. Resist pressure -- Connecting to the community. Structure community involvement. Obtain input. Explain actions. Facilitate information flow. Connect with the internal community -- Working toward board improvement. Cultivate leadership. Assess competence. Obtain assistance -- Acting strategically. Address critical issues. Plan. Organize. Consider context. Evaluate -- Strengthening the superintendent-board partnership. The superintendent as a partner. The board as a partner. The meaning of partnership. The risks for superintendents. How boards can reduce risks. Superintendent steps toward partnership. Conclusion --Getting the best information. Regulating the flow of information. Understanding the role of information. Establishing information priorities. Identifying information categories. Assessing and planning an information system. Asking the difficult questions. Conclusion -- Engaging in Board Development. The concept of board development. How boards can improve. Action one : conduct self-assessment. A self-assessment example. Action two : monitor progress. Action three : develop systematically. Conclusion. Conclusion : an agenda for action. Boards can work. A model for board action. How boards can support development. Conclusion.
Format :


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LB2831 .S64 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

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"An empathetic but hard-hitting book about effective school board leadership. It should be required reading for superintendents, school board members, and all elected leaders."

--Anne L. Bryant, executive director, National School Boards Association

"The chances for providing an even better education for students increases geometrically when school boards and superintendents work together in common purpose. This book can help build the capacity of boards to support district-level improvement with wise governance and leadership."

--Paul Houston, executive director, American Association of School Administrators

School boards are under fire and overworked, but they are here to stay. Here is a practical guide to improving their operation. Filled with real-life examples of sound board action, Effective School Boards presents a useful model for boards who want to make a difference in improving education and leading wisely. In this book, Eugene Smoley analyzes information received from extensive interviews with school board members about the key elements of highly functional boards and offers advice and insights to help boards make better decisions, act collaboratively, relate to their communities, and plan strategically. He outlines three stages of board improvement--self-assessment, monitoring, and development--highlighting how boards can partner with district superintendents to lead change. Practical tools for improvement include a self-evaluation questionnaire, a sample format for retreats and conferences, and concrete suggestions to assist school board members, superintendents, concerned citizens, business leaders, foundations, and anyone who cares about how today's schools are governed.

Author Notes

EUGENE R. SMOLEY, JR., is an indepAndent consultant who helps school districts and nonprofit organizations resolve management and governance issues. He is a senior fellow of the Cheswick Center, a research and education trust dedicated to improving nonprofit governance. He has worked with school boards and superintAndents of many school districts across the country. He teaches in the educational leadership doctoral program at the University of Delaware.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Why School Boards Fail
A Model for Board Effectiveness
Making Rational Decisions
Functioning Cohesively as a Group
Exercising Appropriate Authority
Connecting to the Community
Working Toward Board Improvement
Acting Strategically
How to Make School Boards Stronger
Strengthening the SuperintAndent-Board Partnership
Getting the Best Information
Engaging in Board Development
Conclusion: An AgAnda for Action