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What is a Governance Committee?

Just like a personal trainer, if you don’t have someone pushing you to keep exercising those muscles, even high functioning boards can start to slip. For this reason, your Governance Committee is essential to support the health and function of your board.

The Governance Committee is commissioned by and responsible to the board of trustees to assume the primary responsibility for matters pertaining to board member recruitment, nominations, orientation, training, and evaluation, in accordance with the bylaws of the organization and established policies and practices approved by the board of trustees.

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Key Responsibilities of a Governance Committee

The Governance Committee’s primary responsibilities are to:


  • Ensure that all trustees understand their roles and responsibilities; and that there is an established process for holding individuals accountable for fulfilling their obligations
  • Finding, recruiting, and screening board candidates
  • Establishing succession planning for trustees and officers
  • Providing orientation for new trustees, and exit interviews with departing ones
  • Organizing board retreats and board training
  • Conducting annual assessments of the full board and individual trustees


Sample Governance Committee Goals and Tasks

As with any committee, your Governance Committee’s work should be organized around goals and tasks.

One of your committee’s primary goals might be:

Create a Board Policies Manual.

To ensure you meet that goal, you might assign specific committee members the following tasks:


  1. Research required policies for charter school boards in our state
  2. Cross-reference with our authorizer
  3. Investigate sample policies to bring us into compliance
  4. Committee makes recommendations to the whole board for adoption


Best Practices for Making Your Governance Committee a Success


Prioritize Your Governance Committee

This committee should be one of the first established by your board. Tending to the health, education, and evolution of your trustees is vital to having an effective board.


Full Board Ownership for All Written Policies

Creating policy should be the purview of the entire board and each committee. All policies do not need to flow through the Governance Committee. The Governance Committee should focus only on policies related to board process: job descriptions, attendance policies, bylaws, etc.


Operate Beyond the Nominating Functions

Some boards have a Governance Committee in name, but the committee really only focuses on the nominating aspects. Prioritize sufficient time on evaluating the board annually, organizing board training, etc.


Success for your organization depends on a well staffed Governance Committee to manage board member recruitment, nominations, evaluations and all issues relating to bylaws.

Download the definitive guide to board committees.

Learn more about the Governance Committee. And all five committees that every board needs.

Our complete guide to board committees includes who to recruit to serve on them, and what practices the highest-performing committees follow, and sample goals and job descriptions.