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Effective Superintendent-School Board Practices

Strategies for Developing and Maintaining Good Relationships With Your Board

Foster a strong superintendent-school board relationship centered on quality teaching and learning!

Designed for practicing and aspiring superintendents and board members, this exceptional book relates experiences and challenges faced by this important team. The authors offer:

  • Real-life vignettes that highlight problems, successes, key points, and useful practices
  • Indispensable information on building relationships, creating a team, managing conflict, and staying focused on the mission and priorities of the district
  • Reflective practice questions and self-assessments throughout

Full description

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781412940412
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2006
  • Page Count: 152
  • Publication date: September 14, 2006

Price: $33.95

Price: $33.95
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"The authors fill a gap in the literature by providing a practical, experience-based look at how superintendents should approach the most important relationship in their professional lives. Working effectively with school boards is what it is all about, and this book shows you how."
-Paul D. Houston, Executive Director, American Association of School Administrators

"This book provides practical insights and useful ideas to help district leaders who are serious about keeping the educational interest of children first among their priorities."
-Pedro A. Noguera, Professor, New York University

"Clearly lays out the important role the superintendent has in leading the district in partnership with the board of education. This book is well worth the time of every current and aspiring superintendent and school board member!"
-Anne Bryant, Executive Director, National School Boards Association

"This book is a useful tool in building district governance teams. The authors' collective wisdom provides valuable insight for superintendents and school board members."
-Luan B. Rivera, President, California State Boards Association

"A wonderful, clear, and jargon-free primer on how to be a successful superintendent. This book is must reading for superintendents and a real plus for school boards."
-Dede Alpert, Former California State Senator, Former Member, California State Assembly

"An outstanding fieldbook for those interested in down-to-earth strategies for navigating the complexities of providing leadership in school districts."
-General Davie, Jr., Retired Superintendent of Schools

Foster a strong superintendent-school board relationship centered on quality teaching and learning!

Effective Superintendent-School Board Practices helps current and future superintendents and school board members develop an effective governance team that prioritizes quality teaching and learning.

Designed for practicing and aspiring superintendents and school board members, this exceptional book relates the everyday experiences and challenges faced by this important district team. Combining 84 years of service as superintendents in urban, rural, and suburban school districts, the authors offer:

  • Real-life vignettes that highlight problems, successes, key points, and useful practices
  • Indispensable information on building relationships, creating a team, managing conflict, and staying focused on the mission and priorities of the district
  • Reflective practice questions and self-assessments throughout

This rich resource offers knowledge, skills, and strategies to teach and inspire current and future leaders, based on the experiences of practitioners who have learned what works and what doesn't, leaving valuable time to focus on student achievement.

Key features

- Illustrative vignettes of effective and ineffective superintendent-school board relationships

- Reflective practice questions and self-assessments included throughout

- Examples from urban, rural, and suburban districts

- Designed for practicing and aspiring superintendents and school boards

- Relates to the every day experiences and challenges faced by this team



Rene S. Townsend photo

Rene S. Townsend

Rene Townsend, former superintendent for ten years, is executive director of the Urban Education Dialog (UED) and Public School Services (PSS), nonprofit organizations founded by Price Charities. PSS has a mission of reducing the price of goods and services to all public school districts; UED is a forum to confront challenges facing urban school districts and exchange best practices. With seven other superintendents, Townsend coauthored Eight at the Top; they are working on book two, offering more leadership insights for superintendents. Townsend received her bachelor of science from the University of Washington, her master's from San Diego State University, and her doctorate from Northern Arizona University. She serves on the national boards of Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) and Educators for Social Responsibility (ESR).
Gloria L. Johnston photo

Gloria L. Johnston

Gloria L. Johnston has devoted over 40 years to a career in education. She currently coaches, mentors, and provides professional development for principals, central office administrators, superintendents, and school boards. The focus of her work is on systemic strategies that lead to improving student achievement and closing the achievement gap. Her years of service in PreK–12 education included serving as a teacher, principal, central office administrator, and 12 years as a superintendent of schools. She worked in urban, suburban, and rural school districts in Illinois, California, and Caracas, Venezuela. Most recently, she served as dean of the School of Education at National University, headquartered in San Diego, California.

Throughout her career, Johnston has been an invited speaker at state and national professional conferences, served on state and national educational and research committees, and has been awarded major professional development grants. She is coauthor of two books, Eight at the Top: A View Inside Public Education, a collection of stories about the work of school district superintendents, and Effective Superintendent-School Board Practices: Strategies for Developing and Maintaining Good Relationships With Your Board, a practical, experience-based look at the most important role the superintendent has in leading a school district.

Johnston earned her PhD in public policy analysis from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her MS in bilingual/bicultural education and BS in humanities (magna cum laude) from Northern Illinois University.

Gwen E. Gross photo

Gwen E. Gross

Prior to joining the 26,000-student Irvine Unified School District in Orange County, California, Gwen E. Gross served as superintendent in Manhattan Beach Unified School District, Beverly Hills Unified, Ojai Unified, and at the then one-school Hermosa Beach City School District. In addition to her 17 years as a superintendent, she has been an elementary and middle grades teacher, principal, director of operations, and faculty member at universities in the Midwest and on the West Coast. She was named as one of the “Top 100 Educators in North America” and was honored as the “2005 Superintendent of the Year” by Pepperdine University, where she has served as an adjunct professor of education leadership for 10 years.

Gross is active in many community and professional organizations, holding leadership positions in many of them, particularly with the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), where she has chaired the New Superintendents’ Annual Symposium, the 2007 superintendent symposium, served as the vice chair of the State Superintendents’ Committee, and has been named a Tri-County Superintendent of the Year. Together with several other superintendents, Gross coauthored Eight at the Top: A View Inside Public Education and Effective Superintendent-School Board Practices. She was a bimonthly columnist for the Beach Reporter newspaper serving Los Angeles County’s South Bay area and she has developed a series of creative communication documents for distribution to the many constituencies served by public schools.

Gross is received her BA from University of Wisconsin, MA from University of Akron, and PhD from Kent State University, and a postdoctoral certificate from Harvard University.

Peggy Lynch photo

Peggy Lynch

Peggy Lynch recently retired after serving for nearly seven years as the superintendent of the San Dieguito Union High School District, located in the northern part of San Diego County. Prior to San Dieguito, she was the superintendent of Brea Olinda Unified School District in Orange County, California. Her career spans 38 years and includes middle and high school teaching, high school assistant principal and principal, and assistant superintendent.

Lynch served on the San Diego County Department of Education Achievement Gap Task Force, as well as other county advisory committees. She was also co-chair of the San Diego and Imperial counties superintendents group for Association of California School Administrators (ACSA). She has chaired the Superintendents’ Symposium Committee for ACSA, as well as the organization’s annual conference. In Orange County, she also chaired the county superintendents’ organization. Her memberships include Southern California Superintendents, Suburban School Superintendents, American Association of School Administrators, and Association of California School Administrators.

She received her undergraduate degree from Parsons College in Iowa, her master’s from California State University, Fullerton, and her doctorate from the University of La Verne.

Lorraine M. Garcy photo

Lorraine M. Garcy

Lorraine M. Garcy serves as a consultant with the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) as the coordinator of a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant to provide training for superintendents in California. She previously served 34 years in education as a California superintendent, assistant superintendent, site administrator, and K–12 instructor. Garcy has been as a member of the ACSA State Superintendents' Committee, New Superintendents' Workshop Planning Committee, and Superintendents' Symposium Planning Committee. Garcy also worked as director of the Superintendent Academy, North, for administrators aspiring to be superintendents, and on the California School Leadership Academy Board. In 2003, she was recognized by the California State Assembly for her service to the students of the State of California with an Assembly Resolution. Garcy received earned a bachelors degree in education from the University of New York, Oswego, a master's degree in education administration from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and her doctorate in school business administration from the University of Southern California.
Benita B. Roberts photo

Benita B. Roberts

In July 2001, Benita B. Roberts retired as superintendent of a 20,000-student California school district where she served for eight of her thirty-four years in public education. Prior to her tenure as a superintendent, she was a classroom teacher and held several administrative positions, including assistant superintendent of education services. Since retirement, she has spent time in interim administrative assignments, taught classes in the administrative services credential program at California State University, San Bernardino, and served as the human resources manager in her family’s business.

As superintendent, an especially memorable occasion was her appearance in Washington, DC, on a televised town hall meeting with the then-United States Secretary of Education Richard Riley on the subject of early college preparation programs. During her years as a school administrator, she served on several community boards, including the Rotary Club of Jurupa, where she completed a year as president. In addition, she was a member of the boards of the Jurupa Chamber of Commerce, the Riverside YMCA, and United Way of the Inland Valleys, the American Heart Association, and the Jurupa Mountains Cultural Center. Currently, she is a member of the board of the Community Foundation serving Riverside and San Bernardino counties, the Riverside Community College Gateway to College Charter School, and the Riverside Community College Foundation as chair of the finance committee.

The University of California, Riverside, recognized her as an alumna of distinction for her community service. Other awards include the Jurupa Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year, a Jurupa Council PTA Honorary Service Award, Riverside YWCA Woman of Achievement, and the Jurupa Chamber of Commerce Member of the Year. The Riverside African American Historical Society honored her extended family for their numerous accomplishments as pioneers in the Inland region.

Roberts received her undergraduate education at the University of California, Riverside and a graduate degree from California State University, San Bernardino. She also completed coursework in the University of La Verne’s doctoral program in organizational management.

Patricia B. Novotney photo

Patricia B. Novotney

Patricia B. Novotney is an associate professor at the University of La Verne in the department of organizational leadership. In addition, she serves as chair of the professional administrative services credential program. She is also a consultant with school districts in the areas of governance team training, leadership development, strategic planning, and organizational development. Previously, she spent 36 years in public school district service. The majority of her work was in school administration, where she was a principal in three Southern California school districts and superintendent in two California school districts, serving for 13 years.

Novotney has also been an adjunct professor, teaching master’s- and doctoral-level classes at Pepperdine University, the University of Southern California, Chapman University, and the California State University campuses at Fullerton, Long Beach, and San Bernardino.

During her time as district superintendent, Novotney served as president of the Rotary Club and held offices in several other service clubs. She was also active in the Temecula, California, Chamber of Commerce. One of her community passions was her role as president of a nonprofit organization designed to work on the elimination of child abuse. During her time as superintendent, she received awards from the Rotary, Kiwanis, and Soroptimist clubs; the Temecula Chamber of Commerce and Police Department; and the California State Parent Teacher Association.

Novotney received her BS degree from Bloomsburg State University, where in 1994, she was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Service Award. She received her MS degree in educational administration from Chapman University and her doctoral degree in institutional management from Pepperdine University.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents



About the Authors


1. Building Relationships

The First Step

Understanding Each Board Member?s Interests and Goals

Adapting Communication Methods

Another Election, Another Challenge

Political Fine-Tuning

The Hidden Job Description

The Board Member Who Wants to Be Governor

Honoring Past Board Member Accomplishments

Relationship Building Never Ends

Chapter Summary

2. Creating a Team

Board-Superintendent Protocols

Use Planned Priorities as a Key Communication Strategy

Board Communicator

May I Ask That?

Preparing the Board for an Upcoming, Difficult Decision

When Is a Civility Policy Necessary?

Board Meeting Follow-Up

When Board Members Know Their Roles

A Facilitated Superintendent Evaluation Process

Board Self-Evaluation

Recognize Board Member Accomplishments

Chapter Summary

3. Staying Focused

Keeping the Mission, Philosophy, and Priorities in the Forefront

Taking the Plan to Others

Updating Your Strategic Plan

Monitoring Progress of District Goal Attainment

Working for Board Consensus

Maintaining Board Policies

Budget as a Decision-Making Tool

Chapter Summary

4. Managing Conflict

Who Is Really in Charge?

No Surprises

You Heard What at the Party?

All Internal Communication Is Not Internal

Responding to a Violation of Board Protocol

The Rebel Board Member

Chapter Summary

5. Moving On and Succession Planning

When to Leave

Learning About a New District

Knowing When to Retire

Saying Good-Bye

Making the Transition

Selecting a New Superintendent

Working as an Interim Superintendent

Chapter Summary

Resource A: Board-Superintendent Protocols for Effective Governance

Resource B: Planned Priorities

Resource C: Civility Policy

Resource D: Mission Statement and District Goals

Resource E: Strategic Plan

Resource F: Superintendent?s Evaluation Process

Resource G: School District Budget Development Calendar

Resource H: Budget Guidelines for Boards and Staff

Resource I: School District Responsibility Chart





Price: $33.95
Volume Discounts applied in Shopping Cart

For Instructors

Request Review Copy

When you select 'request review copy', you will be redirected to Sage Publishing (our parent site) to process your request.