Recruiting New Board Members

Sustainable Catholic schools govern via a forward-thinking Board, Principal and Directors of Advancement and Enrollment. Together, they’re mission-driven, data-informed and focused on the needs of the school.

When recruiting, remember that effective Board members: 

  • Lead in time, talent and treasure – Volunteer service to the Board, share expertise to advance the school and lead in financial contributions.
  • Actively support the school – Support and promote the school’s mission, leadership team, goals and policy positions and demonstrate that support within the community. 
  • Understand what is and is not within their jurisdiction – Create appropriate policies and goals in areas outlined in operating principles, execute plans and accomplish goals. Board members do not get involved in management, staffing or curriculum issues, but do set the bar for academic performance in consultation with the Principal.
  • Act with the school’s interest as top priority – Separate the interests of the school from the specific needs of a particular person or constituency.
  • Speak with one voice: the voice of the Board – Accept and support Board decisions; once a decision has been made, the Board speaks with one voice. The authority is vested in the Board as a whole.
  • Ask difficult questions and find answers – Expertise is used to evaluate opportunities and issues then plan and play an active role in accomplishing goals.

“You should always be engaging with folks – no matter their attributes, no matter what they bring to the table – about the mission…. then you’ll create a pipeline…. That allows your organization to be much more discerning.”

Rev. Mario Powell, SJ President, Brooklyn Jesuit Prep

Quick Case

With a Board of Specified Jurisdiction now in place, St. Mary of the Assumption School is best positioned to tackle its most pressing challenges all while keeping the academic, social and emotional, and faith formation of students front and center.

St. Mary of the Assumption School (Brookline, MA) consistently has been one of the strongest academic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston. Surrounded by opportunities from the tech industry, area hospitals and institutions of higher education, St. Mary’s has an incredibly successful and engaging parent and parish community. In building the St. Mary’s Board of Specified Jurisdiction, focusing on the needs of the school, while knowing whom to engage, was of utmost importance. In less than 10 months, more than 10 Board members were recruited with particular expertise in enrollment management, finance, development, education, marketing and more. 

“As a member of the parish community, I saw an opportunity to give back and was excited to serve on St. Mary’s School Board,” said Damien Leigh, Board Co-Chair and SVP, New Balance. “Early on, recognizing the needs of the school, the Board embraced the support of the community, including the pastor and the Healey Education Foundation, to identify and engage experts who would willingly commit. Each brought unique perspectives, ones that would clearly strengthen an already strong school environment. Additionally, I challenged myself to reach into my own professional network, and I was able to bring in a talented and dedicated servant leader.”

Additional Resources

Forward Motion Guide for the video Building a Healthy Pipeline of Board Talent 

Board Member Nomination Form

Committee Chair Interview Questions

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