Attending the Ontario Public School Board Association's (OPSBA) Public Education Symposium answered many questions, muddied others and poised new ones. Everyone seems to have different takes on the roles of Trustees.
Bill 177 the 'Education Act' and the Student Achievement and School Board Governance Act' may have tidied up the Education Act but with clarity also comes interpretation. If may take awhile for a person to interpret, learn, understand, function and accustom oneself to the role of Trustee. Should one be continually questioning the Trustee's role and thus their own role? Sometimes the public's view of a Trustee can make things interesting. What do you actually do? Are Trustees managers or leaders? Do we have all the responsibilities but no powers. Some people refer to Trustees as 'rubber stampers'. Are we the Spokesperson for the Board or the Public Relations Officer? You are 'My' Trustee.
Trustees set the Policy and the Staff produces and implements the Procedures. The dynamics, the interaction and the relationship between Trustees and Staff to accomplish the Board's Policy can vary between Boards. If it works, it works. To each their own. I admit it may take a little while for me to come to terms with my role as Trustee however my learning is also those of the other Trustees. A new Trustee, a new Board, a new Perspective.
Although this article by Chris Kennedy is written from the viewpoint of a Superintendent most also applies to performing as a Trustee. 'Coaching In & Out of the Classroom' The Opportunity of a Lifetime and 'Thinking About Leadership' Personalized Learning as a Change Initiative, are again from a Superintendent's point of view but nevertheless are quite informative. I hope to be able to adopt and carry some of these traits with me as a Trustee. I am sure there will be a The Role Part II and even Part III & IV.