How Board Business Impacts Achievement

Type: Article
Topics: Board Relations, School Administrator Magazine

February 01, 2024


Working with a Texas school board that had had six superintendents in five years, I found it easy to say to the board members, “Y’all don’t have a superintendent problem.”

Churning through superintendents is a hallmark of dysfunctional school boards. When the board doesn’t know what it expects from a superintendent, it is nearly impossible for a superintendent to meet the board’s expectations.

We learned from the Iowa Lighthouse Research Project, conducted from 1998 to 2012 and funded by the U.S. Department of Education, that school boards that lack focus, aren’t informed about what it takes to improve achievement and are disengaged from how their work affects students characterize low-performing school systems.

What can superintendents do in such a situation, other than keep the resume ready? They can serve a pivotal role in helping boards improve their performance.

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Phil Gore

Chief learning officer

Idaho School Boards Association, Boise, Ida.