The Art of
School Board Member
Needs to Know
“All things considered, school governance is either the driving force or primary obstacle for the advancement of a school district. Jim Burgett masterfully describes it as the Art of School Boarding and goes to great lengths to lay out the requisite responsibilities of an exemplary board member. This very understandable book provides excellent insights for any person that is or works with a school board member.”
Clark, Executive Director,
This book is for anyone who sits at the school board table—rookies, seasoned veterans, superintendents, and administrators. For the newly elected, reading it should be their first assignment before they accept appointment—even better, before they seek election!
Jim Burgett’s fifth K-12 book, The Art of School Boarding, is a straightforward, common sense, jargon-free book that tells what present or future board members must know. Why would school boarders seek this responsible yoke? Just ask them, why are they still on the school board. “There’s nothing else I’d rather do…” is what you usually hear. This book tells why.
“School Boarding” is much more an art than a science. Boards have their own purpose, means, personality, process, and protocol. So these pages discuss the basics of boardsmanship, the foundational principles of school governance, and the role of the board, the board members, and the administration. It explains ethical expectations and Codes of Conduct, how to handle community concerns, relationship-building, and finances and curriculum. It also includes dozens of case studies from top K-12 leaders and board participants. (See selected book extracts below…)
Jim Burgett’s new book explains how a
select group of citizens can
profoundly and permanently
change the lives
of their community and every kid in it…
Jim Burgett has taught and served as principal and superintendent at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. He was twice named administrator of the year by his peers, and is a frequent keynoter, workshop leader, academy presenter, and educational consultant nationwide to school administrators, teachers, board members, businesses, and institutions. Burgett’s earlier books are Teachers Change Lives 24/7, Finding Middle Ground in K-12 Education (with Brian Schwartz), and What Every Superintendent and Principal Needs to Know and The Perfect School (with Max McGee and Jim Rosborg)—if interested, see more of those book details. As you can imagine, Jim has served on lots of boards!
Table of Contents
1. Boarding Basics, 11
What Does a Board Member Do?
How Much Time Is Involved?
What Are the Pros and Cons of Boarding?
2. Why Does Anyone Want to Board? 17
Know Why You Want to Serve
The School Boarding Questionnaire
3. The Foundational Principles of School
The Board Clarifies the Purpose
The Board Connects with the Community
The Board as Employer
The Board as Delegator
The Board as Monitor
Fundamental Boarding Responsibilities
4. Board Roles and Superintendent Roles, 35
What Does the Board Do?
What Does the Superintendent Do?
What Is the Relationship?
5. Boarding Code of Conduct, 41
Common Sense Codes
6. Know the Chain of Command, 47
Memorize the Organizational Chart
Direct Others to the Process
the Art of Receiving and
7. Learn the Art of Receiving and
Responding to Complaints, 51
Catching the Complaint
Throwing the Complaint
8. Never Forget Who Comes First, 59
Rethink Your Reasons
Analyze Your Actions
Stabilize Your Center
9. Money Matters, 63
Understand Your Role with Money
Know the Importance of Financial Stability
10. Programs and Growth, 73
Understand the Fundamentals of Schooling
11. Relationships, 81
Characteristics of an Exemplary Board Member
13. Expert Advice, 115
14. Taking Care of You, 137
15. The Ride, 159
What others are saying:
“Great guide for board members and superintendents to stay focused on the mission of the school.”
Jim L. King, Ed.D., Executive
of Secondary School Principals
“If you are or want to be a good school board member this book is priority one reading.”
Darell Belm, past winner of
Board President Award
The Art of
[* CONTACT US for more information about, quantity discounts, and shipping choices]
Ten selected extracts from the book:
* Being a member of a board of education is one of the most important jobs that a person can hold, and it should be reserved for people who have the courage, the fortitude, and the desire to make a difference.
* I’m writing this book because it needs to be written. It is intended to serve as a guide, a primer, a companion, a training manual, a motivational tool, and a down-to-earth conversation starter about a job that is always, for those involved, a life-changing event.
* I think school boards in general are doing a superb job, despite the fact that much of that is done “by the seat of their pants.” And much of that is because too many of the members just don’t know any better. And some don’t care.
* You see, some folks run for the school board without understanding both its importance and its complexity. Some, once elected, simply don’t get it. And some lose their vigor and vision. So maybe a straightforward, common sense, jargon-free book like this can help all of the board members become essential components of a crucial process for helping kids. Perhaps it can provide a shared starting point for boards of education working as cohesive teams, knowing their purpose, rolling up their collective sleeves, and never losing focus while making a true difference. Helping school boards “board” in a positive, effective, and meaningful manner, then, is the goal of this book, the very reason for its existence.
* This book contains the kind of information that board members, particularly beginners or others considering joining, should know, like being a member of a board of education is an act of noble and selfless public service.
* There are no board of education members who don’t face difficult decisions, votes, or issues. Nor any who haven’t had to defend his or her decisions many times. This is a job that often includes some degree of conflict.
* This is not a textbook. It has no footnotes, nor many statistics. It comes from me (who sat through thousands of hours of school board meetings), mentors, and colleagues with a century-plus of school board experience… The format is casual, like a conversation.
* School boarding isn’t a science—I taught science. Yes, there are some rules, procedures, and recommended guidelines. What makes it an art (as in The Art of School Boarding) is that at the core what we most need to share is thoughtfulness, tact, and the process (really the art) of building relationships.
* From the minute you are elected or appointed a school board member you hold a position of public authority. Your vote always counts. You become responsible for huge sums of money, the stewardship of property, and the employment and welfare of many human beings. Essentially, you hold the personal livelihood of people in the power of your vote. And not only the individual, but his/her family too.
* Can it be rewarding to be a school board member? You bet. Consider the rewards—permanent ones, each growing with every kid from day one in kindergarten to graduation day from high school, and spin-offs all the days that follow.
(Here are 20 more extracts…)
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