AVI CHAI concluded its general grant making on December 31, 2019.

How Do You Align Your School’s Board and Professional Leadership?

Posted by: Deborah Fishman

May 19, 2015

Dr. Jack Wertheimer, Project Director of “How Schools Enact Their Jewish Missions: 20 Case Studies of Jewish Day Schools,” recently led a webinar about the need for alignment in values and commitments in Jewish day school leadership. The webinar featured: Adina Kanefield, Director of Institutional Advancement at Jewish Primary Day School of the Nation’s Capital (JPDS-NC), and Hadar Dohn, Head of School of the Hebrew Day School of Ann Arbor.
Adina spoke about a major news item at her school that had transpired just that week: JPDS-NC received two gifts amounting to $20 million to enable the creation of a middle school. Adina, who began her involvement at the school as a parent/school leader 20 years ago, described how the alignment between the staff and the board was necessary for those gifts to happen. She presented four tenets key to maintaining alignment and to giving soul to a school: 1. Staying true to the words in the mission statement; 2. Being proud; 3. Being intentional in board leadership work; 4. Establishing respect and trust between staff and board.
Hadar, whose school in Ann Arbor houses grades K-5, described how she has worked to bridge the distance between trustees and the school. In her presentation, she suggested that in all of the issues that are currently arising in terms of enrollment, attrition, and even some identity questions, it is essential to keep bringing the discussion back to the school’s fundamental ambitions and what it is that it hopes to accomplish.
The Q&A discussion focused on how schools have had to adapt to changes in parent populations; examples of where there have been tough issues and pushback from the board and how that was handled; and how the board members need to help align the larger parent body around the schools’ mission in an ambassadorship role.
You may watch the full webinar recording here.

WordPress Video Lightbox