What are the most common mistakes made by charter school boards when they create and implement a CEO support and evaluation committee?

The most common mistakes include:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.