Independent schools are run for and by the parents. They require parents to take up leadership positions within the school management and board to help guide the direction of the school.
Here are some things to contemplate as you decide whether to run for the school board.
Do you have some skills that you can add to the mix?
School boards often need people with specific skills such as accounting or financial skills, marketing and communications skills, legal skills or board compliance skills. Even though you may not be directly required to use these skills, having the ability to critically analyse information that might in front of the board is plenty important. Teachers and educational professionals can also be great additions to the school board.
Are you passionate about the school?
Most of the issues that come before the board are fairly dry and deal with compliance, but there are also long term issues about the direction in which the school should develop. These could include whether it should grow larger or have a more niche position and which facilities and large capital projects the school should embark upon. Having enthusiastic parents on the board can help the school choose a good direction and have a long and successful history.
Do you have enough time?
Being on the board of a school can take a lot of time. The commitment is not just to turn up to the meetings but to also read all of the materials that are circulated before the meeting and make informed contributions to the discussions. It can be a large commitment and some parents find it hard to find time for this as well as the rest of their commitments to work, parenting and family time.
Are you comfortable with the obligations of sitting on a board?
Much of the ultimate responsibility for the school's functioning lies with board. Serving on the board can leave you personally liable for a range of issues. This is rare in the school environment, but it is important that before you choose to sit on the board that you fully understand the obligations of the role.
Having a committed and talented board of parents is one of the ways that independent schools can ensure their success and be fully aligned with the school community. If you love your independent school and want to help it succeed, then serving on the school board can be a great way to make sure the school heads in the right direction.