Preventing Board Members’ Attempted End Runs

Type: Article
Topics: Board Relations, School Administrator Magazine

May 01, 2022

Board-Savvy Superintendent

A few years back, board member Martha Math (a pseudonym) stopped by my office to offer her advice to the superintendent on a new math curriculum adoption. A prominent professor at the local university, she was known for often-controversial opinions. That day, she explained the direction my recommendation to the school board should take. A gentle reminder that she is an authority on this subject was not lost on me.

What just happened? Nothing less than a good, old-fashioned end run around the rest of the board. Well meaning? Probably. Harmful? Definitely.

A definition here, courtesy of “To do an end run is to maneuver around an obstacle or authority in order to accomplish a certain goal.”

Professor Math was trying to influence the recommendation by the staff and superintendent to the board — in effect, hoping the board would hear her choice and be asked to approve it. Ultimately, this could deny the board the opportunity to hear and vote on a recommendation other than her own.

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