Board of Trustees
THE ROLE OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
The Board of Trustees holds high its commitment to the School’s mission, vision, and values and to encouraging and promoting the spiritual, intellectual, physical, and social growth of SCS students, parents, faculty, and staff. Serving as the School’s governing body, its role stretches beyond fiduciary functions; it provides the administration with strategic guidance and oversight, considers proposals for change, and takes any action necessary to enhance the mission, vision, and values of the School.
The Board establishes strategic policy and delegates the daily operation of the School, including personnel and curricular matters, procedures, and protocols to the Head of School and the administration. The Board does not intervene in administrative issues, though it provides guidance and offers appropriate frameworks for discussion. It also approves the annual tuition and budget. In addition, the Board is solely responsible for the evaluation and employment of the Head of School.
The Board has six standing committees:
- Spiritual Life
- Marketing & Advancement
- Campus Master Planning
The first two of these are comprised entirely of current trustees or emeriti. The next four, along with various subcommittees and task forces, include some non-trustee members. All candidates for service on the Board, a standing committee, or a subcommittee, are recommended by the Governance Committee and approved by the full Board of Trustees.
In addition, standing subcommittees (such as Investment or Audit) or ad hoc subcommittees (such as Capital Campaign or Strategic Planning) support the work of the committees.
DISCUSSIONS, RECORDS, MINUTES, AND ACCOUNTABILITY
Board members are entrusted with the strategic, fiduciary, and spiritual governance of the School as a ministry of Christ. While they may draw from their expertise and experience, they do not represent any constituency of the School, nor current students or alumni, nor current or past parents, nor administrators or teachers. Board members are held to a higher standard to support the School’s Christian mission: to serve Christ. Therefore, board members must consider how the School can best follow Christ as well as how it can protect and steward resources ranging from personnel and talent, to reputation and good will, from facilities to capital, to intellectual property.
BROAD DISCUSSIONS BUT ONE VOICE
The Board must govern the School with clarity and purpose, speaking with one voice to guide the ministry effectively through the challenges and opportunities it faces. That is not to say that trustees always agree with each other or with the decisions of the administration. However, those conflicts should be resolved within the appropriate confines of board and committee discussions before the Board acts as a whole. No single trustee holds any authority, but the Board, acting as a whole, establishes policy and manages the employment of its sole employee, the Head of School.
Since the School’s governance requires that the Board act as one, the minutes of its wide-ranging deliberations are not shared with other constituencies of the School. SCS is a private association; a ministry focused on educating children, not a public organization. Discussions may include some personal information or plans. Therefore, in several ways, its governing body differs from an elected school board at a public school. The Board does conduct regular training and self-evaluation, and its adherence to its bylaws and legal requirements, as well as its effective functioning, are periodically reviewed along with many other aspects of the School in accreditation and re-accreditation reviews.
CONTACTING THE BOARD
In most circumstances, the Head of School and administrators can answer specific questions regarding administrative practices, protocols, and procedures. However, from time to time individuals within the SCS community may want to communicate directly with the Board of Trustees on a matter of strategic importance or the behavior of the Head of School, issues that fall within the purview of the Board of Trustees. Recalling that the Board delegates to the Chair, the role of serving as its spokesperson, such queries or concerns should be directed to the Chair in writing.
THE ROLE OF A TRUSTEE
Board members bring unique perspectives, skills, and experiences to their role. They may be parents or grandparents of current students or alumni; they may have relatives who have worked at the school; they themselves may have graduated from SCS; or they may be leaders in the community. However, the Board functions as a single entity to govern the strategic direction of the School, meet its fiduciary responsibility, and uphold its mission, vision, and values. Individual trustees, though responsible for important work on committees and subcommittees, do not exert any formal authority apart from decisions of the Board as a whole, which speaks with one voice, through the Chair.
It takes a special person to accept the call to serve on the SCS Board of Trustees; one prepared to represent the School, to collaborate on strategic matters of long-term impact, and to devote significant time to the work. Trustees will be asked to take into consideration the multiple hats they may wear: being a parent, a volunteer, a friend, and a member of the Board.
TERMS OF SERVICE AND SELECTION
Terms of service are three years and may be renewed by vote of the Board. There are no limits to the number of terms, though tradition holds that members step away after completing one, two, or three terms. However, at the end of any term, a trustee may be invited to return for the next term by vote of the Board. The Board may also vote to extend the length of a trustee’s term for special circumstances.
Each year, the Board seeks candidates to succeed those whose final terms expire or who choose to step away for personal or professional reasons. The Governance Committee fields nominations from trustees, reviews candidates, and recommends consideration by the full Board before the candidate is approached. Most of those called have served effectively on a board committee or subcommittee, though service in those capacities does not imply candidacy for trusteeship. The great majority of non-trustee members of committees and subcommittees serve their terms helping the School in an area of personal interest, without being called to be a trustee. As with any team, the Board seeks to fill positions based on its specific needs at that time, which may or may not align with an individual’s readiness to serve.
CALL TO SERVE
The Southwest Christian School Board of Trustees recognizes God’s reflection in all people and values the diversity of gifts, perspectives, and roles of followers as outlined in 1 Corinthians 12; consequently, the Board of Trustees embraces the following goals in determining membership of the governing body and its committees:
- unity of purpose in guiding our Christ-centered school to fulfill its mission;
- ability to meet legal, spiritual, and ethical requirements expressed in the School’s charter and bylaws as well as under local, state, or federal jurisdictions;
- diversity of skills and experiences in meeting the Board’s variety of responsibilities;
- capacity to enhance Board or committee deliberation and action;
- openness to healthy debate and diverse opinions, framed by our Biblical mandate;
- commitment to engage thoroughly, work collaboratively, and think strategically.
In keeping with these aspirations, the Governance Committee expects to consider the following in recommending candidates for service on the Board and/or its committees:
- heartfelt commitment to the School’s published statements of belief and Christian faith, in order to represent the leadership and the goals of the School as a Christian ministry;
- experience that can help address potential gaps in the Board’s understanding that could hamper the efficacy of its decision-making;
- factors including, but not limited to, the following: education and training, experience with the School (i.e. status as an alumnus, or with a relationship to a former student or staff member), differing personal experiences and/or perspectives (such as that which might be based on gender, race, ethnicity or socioeconomic background), and demonstrated willingness to give of time, talent and treasure, in order to foster a robust and effective Board that is well-positioned to lead all of the constituents of the School.
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