Effective Governance Is One of the Great Challenges of any Organization

  • Source:

  • MN Association of Charter Schools

Effective governance is one of the great challenges of any organization – whether it is a non-profit, a private enterprise or a public institution.

It is especially challenging for charter schools because charter schools are unique organizational creatures.  They are a non-profit organization operating a public institution, whose non-profit board of directors must operate as a public body and is composed of teacher employees, parents and community folks.

One has to search long … … … and hard to find another organization with as unique governance structure as a Minnesota charter school board. It is unique by legislative design and in some ways it is one of the more innovative features of Minnesota’s charter school law. When you really look at what the legislature created, you realize that this governance model requires a high-functioning board of directors to be effective and successful.

While successful charter school governance is not rocket science, it is hard work that requires an ongoing and sustained effort by the board and its individual members to function at a high level.

As an Association, we are committed to working with all those in leadership positions in our member schools that impact governance. Our goal is to enhance the capacity of charter school boards to function at the high level of effectiveness that the charter school law presumes.

This newsletter is one small component of our overall board leadership development initiatives. We also have resource materials, offer training for charter school board members and have a board member certificate program. And there is more to come.

We know full well that resource materials, professional development/training, a certificate program and a quarterly newsletter will not of themselves improve governance. Tools, training and other things are important, necessary and helpful, but the quality of governance comes down to the commitment of those involved in governance to accept that they are trustees of the organization’s future, its successes and its failures.

Charter School Board members are legally and morally the Trustees of the expectations, hopes and dreams of the school community, (students, parents and staff) as well as the citizens of Minnesota. So, as a continual reminder to all of us that governance is really about trust between those who govern and those who are governed, we chose the name The Charter School Trustee for this newsletter.