• What makes an effective CEO goal?
• How are CEO goals different from board goals?
• How to harness BoardOnTrack to achieve your goals.
Using a dashboard to get your board engaged
Walk-In Clinic recording
This webinar recording will cover:
- Key ingredients to a successful Board-CEO partnership
- Common mistakes made by the Board and CEO and how to overcome them
- Ways to define roles and responsibilities of the partnership
- Some handy tips you can use right away to strengthen your partnership
This walk-in-clinic recording will cover:
- Ideas and tips on how to make a partnership thrive
- Stories from being in the trenches
- Answers to your burning questions
In addition to a formal end-of-year evaluation, based on clear measurable goals and metrics, BoardOnTrack recommends that the CEO and the board convene for at least two other dedicated check-in/feedback discussions during the course of the year: one in November and one in March.
The purpose of these conversations is to:
- Ensure that the CEO is able to identify for the board the key challenges they are facing
- Create a structured time for the board to provide the CEO with feedback about their leadership and their partnership with the board
- Create a structured time for the CEO to provide the board with feedback on their partnership with the board
Recommended Steps to Prepare for Check-ins:
- Set dates/process timeline for two check-in conversations now (BoardOnTrack recommends late November/early December for the first check-in and March for the second).
- Form a CEO evaluation and support task force.
- Should be comprised of 2 to 4 board members
- Should include the board chair
- Four weeks out from check-in, a taskforce should query the board at a meeting in executive session or via email or phone for ideas/input for feedback conversation. Questions for board member to offer input on could include:
- What do you think the CEO is doing exceptionally well on this year?
- What do you think they could be doing better on this year?
- If they were going to work on one or two things for the coming three months, what would you want them to be?
- Of the goals set for the CEO at the beginning of the year:
- Which ones do you feel confident he or she will achieve?
- Which ones are you most worried about them achieving?
- What, if any, steps can you see the CEO MUST take in order to achieve the goals are you concerned most about?
- Is there anything from any of the data on organizational performance (academic, school culture, family satisfaction, staff satisfaction, or financial) that surprised or concerned you? If so, what was it and what do you see as being the key steps the CEO should take to address the issue?
- What, if anything, do you see that the board could be doing to better support the CEO in achieving the goals set for the year?
- Is there any other feedback that you would like to make sure gets communicated to the CEO?
- Three weeks out from the check-in, the taskforce should meet to distill the board’s input and plan out the conversation.
- Two weeks out from the check-in, the taskforce can consider sending the CEO some reflection questions to consider before the conversation, such as:
- What are three things you think are going well for you and for the school so far this year?
- What are three things that you think could be going better for you and for the school so far this year?
- Of the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year:
- Which ones do you feel confident you will achieve?
- Which ones are you most worried about achieving?
- What, if any, steps do you see as being most essential to achieving the goals are you concerned most about?
- Has there been anything to date in the school’s data (academic results, school culture, family satisfaction, staff satisfaction, or financial) that you have been disappointed in or are concerned about? If so, what do you see as the next step to address these issues?
- What, if anything, do you see that the board could be doing to more effectively support you in reaching the goals set for the year?
- One week out from the check-in the CEO should send a written response to the reflection questions to the CEO Support/Evaluation Taskforce.
Recommended Process for Check-ins:
- Remind the CEO of the purposes for the conversation.
- Ask the CEO to share their answers to the reflection questions above
- Be sure to talk through each annual goal and its current status.
- Wherever possible, help the CEO to identify clear steps he or she could take to address any challenges.
- Listen for and suggest places where the board could support the CEO being ever mindful to preserve the boundaries between management and governance roles.
- When the CEO has said what they have to say regarding the reflection questions, make sure to give any feedback from the board that has not yet been covered. If you are lucky, a lot will already been addressed. For feedback that hasn’t yet been addressed, you could broach it by saying something like, “As we said one of our purposes here is to ensure that you get feedback to help you achieve the goals we have set for the organization. To help you do that, the board feels it is important that we give clear feedback during the year.” Then, share a few commendations on things the board feels the CEO is doing well as well as any key pieces of constructive feedback that have not yet been broached.
To conclude the check-in, THB highly recommends that a written document be created outlining the key points discussed in the check-in. This document along with the CEO’s responses to the self-reflection questions should be shared with the full board.
One of the most important ways to foster a healthy board and school leader partnership is to conduct an annual school leader evaluation. It shows you care about the work of your charter organization’s CEO and are committed to excellence.
Check out this recorded webinar from BoardOnTrack about how to plan and execute an effective evaluation for your school leader, CEO, or Executive Director.
In this educational session, we’ll share our lessons learned from working with 500 charter school boards. Specifically, how to:
- Set up an effective process and appropriate timeline for conducting the evaluationM
- Clarify the board, committee and CEO’s role in the process
- Include stakeholder voice (parents, teachers, and students) in the process
One of the most important roles of a charter school board is to hire and then annually assess the performance of its top leader. Best practices indicate the value of following a formal process to gather data from multiple constituents and review performance relative to goals and competencies required for the job. This ensures the CEO is clear on what the board expects, and understands how he or she is doing relative to those expectations.
When this process is executed effectively, it can lead to higher engagement, productivity and retention of the CEO and ultimately result in a better learning experience for students. Having clarity on goals and frequent dialogue on performance can also make the job of the board easier if and when performance issues surface. Many boards recognize and understand the significance of this responsibility, yet may not plan for it adequately or know what process to follow.
Below is an outline of the framework with actions to take for each:
- Prepare – Plan and get ready to kick-off the annual evaluation cycle
- Ensure CEO goals have been set, clarified and agreed upon at the beginning of the year. If not, create them with input from the CEO
- Appoint a specific CEO Support and Evaluation Taskforce to coordinate the process; review evaluation tool for relevancy and determine who will be providing feedback
- Create and review process and timeline with the CEO, full board and/or applicable committee to ensure buy-in and understanding
- Launch – Officially begin the review cycle by launching the tool and getting feedback
- CEO completes a self-evaluation including an update on goals
- Announce survey has launched and distribute link to the full board and senior staff including sharing CEO self-evaluation with participants
- Participants provide feedback via the survey tool
- Assess – Review the data to assess and evaluate the CEO’s overall performance
- Close the survey
- Compile and analyze the data
- Determine overall performance rating and themes for discussion
- Communicate – Share the results with the full board for review and discussion with the CEO
- Provide results to the full board in closed session for alignment and discussion
- Board chair and at least one other board member conducts performance evaluation discussion with CEO
- Action items based on results are discussed and agreed between board and CEO
- Execute – Determine next steps, evaluate the process and begin to implement recommendations
- Act on reward/recognition opportunities and/or performance plans if applicable
- Set goals for the next year
- Evaluate the process to determine what went well, what should be changed for future years and gain signatures on evaluation results for the files that indicates discussion was held.
Charter schools come in all shapes and sizes, and they call their leader a wide range of terms: Executive Director, Head of School, School Director, Principal and CEO. In BoardOnTrack lexicon, we have chosen to call the person at the very top of the org chart the CEO. A charter school is a multi-million dollar public enterprise and many of the flaws of charter schools come from not having the right leader/leadership structure in place. The schools that we see be successful typically have some one at the top of the organization chart who serves as a CEO—some one who is not just the instructional lead, but can conduct effective oversight of the financial health and operational systems as well as fundraise and work effectively with the board.
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.
Do we need a CEO Evaluation and Support Committee?
Your charter school is a complex multimillion dollar business with many moving parts. Running the day-to-day operations requires support from the board, and continuous feedback to ensure performance and advancement.
The key responsibilities of the CEO support and evaluation committee are to design and develop in partnership with the CEO a:
• Year‐round process for the board to continually strengthen its partnership with the organization’s CEO
• Process for the CEO to set clear annual goals
• Structured process for the board to give and receive feedback several times throughout the year
• Formal process for the board to conduct an annual evaluation of the CEO’s performance
The most common mistakes charter school boards make when creating and implementing a CEO support and evaluation committee include:
• Not making it a year‐round function. Working to strengthen the partnership between the board and the organization’s CEO should be a year‐round function. Too often, a CEO evaluation task force is haphazardly formed at the end of the year, right before the evaluation.
• Not fully engaging the CEO. Supporting and evaluating your leader should feel like a positive professional development experience, not a punitive one. Chances are, your CEO spends a great deal of time working hard to make sure that everyone on the organization’s staff receives constructive feedback regularly and has a thorough annual evaluation of their performance. They may have more experience designing evaluation processes and tools than the trustees serving on this committee. Enlist your CEO in determining what will be the most helpful process for them to get and receive feedback from the board. Ideally, align the CEO support and evaluation process to mirror the process that is being conducted for the rest of the staff.
• Reinventing the wheel. Designing a support and evaluation process is complex. Too often, charter school boards make up their own evaluation tools. Consider using BoardOnTrack’s road-tested online CEO evaluation process, which has been used by hundreds of charter school boards nationwide.
• Misconstruing their role as it relates to surveying parents and staff. Hearing from stakeholders is a vital management function. You can’t have a healthy organization if parents, students, and teachers don’t have a chance to weigh in frequently. But soliciting this input is a management function and not the responsibility of the board or a board committee. The organization should conduct anonymous parent, teacher, and student surveys at least once or twice per year. The organization’s leadership should design these surveys and share the data with the board, both generally and as part of an annual evaluation. It is not the work of this committee to design or conduct these surveys.
CEO Support and Evaluation Committee
The CEO Support and Evaluation Committee is commissioned by and responsible to the board of trustees to assume the primary responsibility for developing and implementing a year‐round process to strengthen the board’s support, evaluation, and partnership with the organization’s CEO.
Appointments and Composition
1. Appointments of the chair and members of the committee shall be made annually by the chair of the board with the advice and consent of the board in accordance with the bylaws.
2. The chair of this committee shall be a member of the board of trustees.
3. Members of this committee shall be members of the board of trustees, subject to the conditions stated in the bylaws.
4. It is anticipated that the committee will be primarily comprised of the primary committee chairs and/or other officers of the board.
1. Develop an annual timeline to support and evaluate the CEO, and have this timeline approved by the fullboard.
2. Annually review and revise as necessary the CEO’s job description.
3. Establish a process for the CEO to develop, share, and receive board approval of a set of annual organizational goals.
4. In partnership with the CEO, establish a clear and consistent way for the CEO to report to the full board regularly on progress towards the board-approved annual goals.
5. Annually create a survey instrument and process to conduct two structured check-ins between the full board and the CEO. It is anticipated that these will occur in November and March and will involve the CEO completing a self-evaluation and surveying the full board.
6. Annually implement a comprehensive CEO evaluation that includes a CEO self-evaluation, input from the
full board, and anonymous input from the CEO’s direct reports.
7. Annually prepare or revise the CEO’s contract as necessary.
8. Annually recommend CEO compensation adjustments to the full board, as appropriate.
9. Create specific, measurable, board-level goals for the year as part of the full board planning process.
10. Report to the board of trustees at regular meetings of the board in a manner determined by the board.
11. Annually evaluate its work as a committee and the objectives it has committed itself to, and report on the same to the board of trustees.
[callout title=”” align=”left” size= “10” link=”http://pages.boardontrack.com/ceo-evaluation.html” linktarget=”_blank” button_text=”Watch Demo” button_color=”#13a6a3″ button_position=”right” border_color=”#13a6a3″ background_color=”” title_color=”” description_color=”” add_shadow=”no”] BoardOnTrack’s annual membership includes a CEO evaluation tool designed specifically for charter schools. [/callout]
Our specific recommended actions include:
1. Create a CEO Support and Evaluation Committee.
2. Appoint a chair of this committee, ideally not the board chair.
3. Develop a timeline, mapping backwards from your desired completion date.
4. Choose your evaluation tool (consider using the BoardOnTrack Tool available to premium members) rather than reinventing the wheel.
5. Have the CEO complete a self-evaluation.
6. In addition to completing a self-evaluation have the CEO supply the board with data to support how they are rating themselves on key areas.
7. Share the self-evaluation and data points (such as teacher satisfaction surveys, parent surveys, state test data, financial data) with the board.
8. The full board completes the same questionnaire as the CEO’s self-evaluation.
9. Consider having direct reports of the CEO also weigh in on the same survey tool.
10. Tally the results and share in summary with the board.
11. The board processes out the information and agree to speak with one voice to the CEO.
12.The committee meets with the CEO and shares the summary results.
13. CEO goals are set for the next year using the information from the evaluation process.
14. The CEO has a chance to provide the board feedback on their performance.
Make sure to get CEO in put and buy-in on all of these steps!
We recommend that this process coincide with the end of the school year and be completed in June, or the latest July. As such, the CEO has time to create goals for the next school year prior to doors opening again.