You’ve Been Elected Charter School Board Chair… Now What?

Congratulations, the other members of the governing board have elected you to be the board chair for the upcoming year. You switch seats, pick up the gavel, and wonder, “...Now what?”

Taking on the role and the work of the board chair may be required before you feel like you’re ready to step into the job. Sometimes, the resignation of other officers or board members can expedite the need to take on the role of board chair.

In the best-case scenario, the board will have already written and approved job descriptions for the chair, vice-chair, and clerk. These job descriptions outline the expectations for these officer positions, and provide an additional layer of transparency between the Lead Administrator and the board by clearly delineating officer responsibilities.

The role of the board chair also comes with built-in leadership presumptions. In addition to the regular work of the board, the chair must preside over board meetings, making certain that members of the public, as well as other board members are heard during debates. An effective board chair will succeed in these tasks by using “rules of order” and by maintaining a respectful and transparent atmosphere at the meeting.

Other common duties include assisting the Lead Administrator in preparing board meeting agendas or first drafts of school policies and spearheading the yearly evaluation process of the Lead Administrator. Occasionally, the board chair may be called upon to act as a spokesperson for the board. It is the job of the board chair, and not the Lead Administrator to address issues – like frequent absences or...

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