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What makes a good school board trustee?

August 17, 2017

 Note: The Clark County School Board began meeting at 8 a.m. today to consider a replacement for departing board member Erin Cranor. You can see information on and follow today’s meeting via our Twitter feed.


The Clark County School Board or any school board, for that matter, is most effective when its members understand its appropriate role. Quite simply, that role reflects the difference between governance and management.


When there’s an issue within the district that requires resolution, it’s the responsibility of management and district staff to solve it, to manage it, to effectively execute the work of running a school district. The trustees’ role is to determine whether an issue has been solved thoughtfully, effectively, through the use of a management approach that ensures the current and future success of the organization.


If a problem has not been solved, it’s the school board’s responsibility to direct the district superintendent, their employee, to try again to fix the issue through the effective deployment of school district staff. 


Quite simply, school board members should not be involved in the day-to-day operations of any district. That is the role of professional educators and support staff, the 38,000 employees who work for the Clark County School District.


A school board’s job is to fully grasp the mission of the organization and the role of each board member. Effective school board governance is dependent upon that realization.


The nation’s top-performing school districts have governing boards, superintendents and staff that work in tandem, fully grasping the nuances of oversight, management and implementation. We are hopeful that the person chosen to replace Trustee Erin Cranor on the Clark County School Board will fully grasp the role of an effective school board member.

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