Special Report

Improving the Superintendent and School Board Partnership

November 18, 2020
Image shows 2 puzzle pieces being fit together through parnership.
The more collaborative and productive a superintendent-school board relationship is, the more efficiently a school system runs. Yet the superintendent-school board relationship is often fraught, marked by conflict, attempts at micromanagement, and single-issue politics. Overwhelmingly white, well educated, and middle-income, school board members also may face an upward climb to understand the needs of the entire district, apart from the geographic subdivisions they come from.

What can school district leaders do to ensure a quick transition and a smooth relationship for their school board members? Plenty, according to educators and experts, and this special report highlights some of those strategies, from broad community training to interest new candidates in the job and governance approaches to guard against micromanagement. The report also includes advice from school board members to their newly elected peers and results from a Education Research Center poll of school board members nationwide.