The CEO or lead staff person that reports to the board should have a set of goals that articulate the key things the organization will do this year towards achieving the promises made in the charter and accountability plan as well as any additional goals that are related to organizational success.
CEO goals are the same as the overarching management-level/organizational goals. CEO success equals organizational success. The CEO is the only staff person who reports directly to the board and is directly responsible for delivering organization-wide success. In addition, the CEO may also have some “personal” professional development goals that are listed in addition to the organization-wide goals.
Role of the Board in CEO Goals
The CEO goals should be approved by the full board at the beginning of the school year and progress towards achieving the goals should be discussed at every board meeting.
The CEO should clearly articulate when they will need support from the full board and each committee to achieve his or her goals. And ultimately each CEO should tie back to a board-level committee that provides oversight and support to help ensure the goal is achieved.
Articulating CEO goals and board-level goals provides a clear articulation of the management-governance distinction in key areas. If designed correctly, they will help you avoid common governance-management conflicts.
Recommended Categories for CEO Goals
Although the size, grades, and missions of charter schools vary widely, BoardOnTrack recommends that there are some essential areas that your CEO should provide goals/metrics to the board.
Students: Attendance, on-time arrival, attrition, retention,demographics, success after graduation.
Academics: State test, interim assessment, and nationally normed assessment data.
Staff/Teachers: Recruitment, retention, satisfaction.
Financials: Cash on hand, surplus, clean audit,grant requirements and grant reporting.
Facilities: Lease status, debt service, etc.
Private Fundraising: By source (foundations, corporations, individuals) and renewals vs. new donors.
The board will have a much easier time conducting effective oversight if the CEO reports on goals and metrics by including comparative data. To the extent possible, we suggest that the CEO provide the board with comparison with.
- what was achieved last year
- The sending district (typically, this is a low-bar or baseline).
- A “high-bar”— a school that is comparable to yours that is proving what is possible to achieve.
- What is in the charter and/or accountability plan so that the board knows whether or not they are on track to achieve/exceed the articulated goal.
The ability to track these comparisons is built right in to the BoardOnTrack workflow.