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November 13, 2019

At most independent schools, the most important board meeting of the year is embedded in the winter holiday season.  In high-functioning boards, the finance committee and perhaps another committee (more on this later) have spent the fall assembling budget and benchmark...

November 1, 2019

In David Mamet's "Glengarry Glenross," brilliantly adapted to the screen in 1992 with an all-star cast, Alec Baldwin plays Blake, sent from the Premiere Properties corporate offices to motivate the Brooklyn real estate team.  Saturated in profanity, his vicious techniq...

October 5, 2019

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds," Emerson wrote in "Self-Reliance," perhaps the proto-battle-cry for today's disrupters.  Some consistencies, however, make a lot of sense.  For instance, when affordability is not an issue, independent schools al...

August 8, 2019

Each year on the first day of practice, my high school football coach would use the Fram oil filter slogan to signal the end of summer dissolution and to call us to the altar of football.  "You can pay me now, or you can pay me later," he'd intone, and after a little e...

July 9, 2019

As a Head, the All Star Break always signaled the heart of summer for me, a time to look forward to the arrival of faculty and kids and to look back and reflect on summer successes and misses heretofore.

In that spirit, I called some head friends this week and aske...

June 19, 2019

The relationship between the independent school Head and the Board is enormously complex and full of seeming paradoxes.  For instance, the Board is the Head's employer, but the Head is often the Board's teacher.  Heads are wise to seize teaching moments as they arise,...

June 11, 2019

Summer has arrived on independent school campuses.  Summer Camp is underway, and the facilities folks are sweeping into project mode.  The final Board meeting and celebrations are done, and the head of school has drawn her first deep breath.  If she's really on her gam...

April 11, 2019

Like the Simpsons, most independent schools have outwardly friendly but demanding neighbors.  Depending on your neighborhood, those relationships can be relatively simple or extraordinarily complex.  In either case, it's a certainty that the neighborhood dynamics will...

January 4, 2019

Strength, flexibility, agility--the same goals you might have for your own physical fitness in the new year--should be the defining elements of a renewed commitment to strong school governance.  If you are fortunate enough to have a winter board retreat or some other m...

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