Board leadership is key for Arizona's teachers

The success of any non-profit organization is highly dependent on the board of directors, the staff (including the executive director) and the relationship between the executive director and the board.

While more organizations find temporary success with board and staff relations, a few key strategies are critical for long-term success and understanding the relationship between the board and hired employees. The President/Chair of the board is truly the person responsible for board directors. In contrast, the Executive Director is the leader of all hired staff, contractors and volunteers but reports to the Board chair. The two entities meet when the President/Chair and the Executive Director develop a collaborative working relationship and understand the responsibilities of both areas of influence. 

Non-profit board occasionally select a board member who attempts to circumvent the aforementioned process by purposefully or inadvertently giving direction to staff outside of the chain of command. This creates confusion for staff, a breakdown in the value of the flow of directions and can easily impact employee and board morale. While it's often accidental, an experienced executive director or board chair will need to correct the behavior before it becomes a habit. Following the correct protocol also allows the board chair to assist a board member who may have questions, concerns or need additional information.

Developing positive leadership and board guidance standards is essential for nonprofit boards and staff to ensure everyone understands their role, each person is connected to the organization's work and the chain of command works successfully to protect the employees and the organization. This must be intentional, inclusive of the entire team and collaborate. It's similar to hosting a family dinner. If one member is absent the dynamics are different, their voice is not present and no one hears their perspectives. Creating a culture of leadership and board governance will set the tone for the organization's future success.

Simply put the Board's role is to develop policy and governance standards in concert with the organization's mission and vision. They should check-in with the executive director in regular intervals, understand the non-profit's financials and ensure the strategic plan is at the forefront of every important decision. The executive director carries out the board's vision by engaging the staff, volunteers and contractors to ensure alignment.

Currently, the AZPE board is looking to expand and is seeking new candidates for the board selection process in mid-2022. Interested members with board experience, strategic planning experience, financial leadership experience and a true concern for the mission and vision are encouraged to apply. While none of the above mentioned items are required, all board members must have at least one year of membership prior to being selected.

If you're interested in serving, please reach out to any board member and/or the executive director. It's highly suggested that you also review the board member job descriptions listed here

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