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March/April 2014

IASB videos offer explanation for board’s governance role
By Cathy Talbert

The question for this issue is answered by Cathy Talbert, IASB associate executive director for policy and field services

Question: Where does the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) find its definition of the board’s work?

Answer: IASB’s mission is “…excellence in local school board governance in support of quality public education.”   During its 100-year history, IASB staff has studied effective governance by not-for-profit organizations and publicly elected boards. As part of this ongoing work, during the mid- to late-1990’s, IASB staff developed the Foundational Principles of Effective Governance. These principles define what IASB believes about the governing role of an effective school board. The principles state in part:

As the corporate entity charged by law with governing a school district, each school board sits in trust for its entire community. The obligation to govern effectively imposes some fundamental duties on the board:

1. The board clarifies the district purpose.

2. The board connects with the community.

3. The board employs a superintendent.

4. The board delegates authority.

5. The board monitors performance.

6. The board takes responsibility for itself.

A complete version of the principles can be found   These principles articulate IASB philosophy about the role of the school board that underlies all of the Association’s training, products and services available to its members.

For those who would like to learn and think more about the principles, what they mean and how a board “lives” these principles, IASB has now made available a series of five videos.   Video presenters are current and recent IASB field services directors. The videos range in length from 13 to 37 minutes and address the following topics:

• Foundational Principles of Effective Governance,

• School Board Governance Images,

• School Board Policy,

• District Vision, Focus and Planning, and

• Board-Superintendent Relations.

The videos are designed to further understanding of school boards and their role and function.   To access the videos go to

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