Board of Trustees
As an independent school, Duke School is governed by a board of trustees whose members serve the school on a voluntary basis.
The Board of Trustees is responsible for the following: assuring the relevance and fulfillment of the school’s mission; hiring, supporting and evaluating the Head of School; and securing the financial sustainability of the school.
One way to describe a good board member is "steward and cheerleader." As stewards, board members guard the school's human, physical and financial resources. As cheerleaders, they embrace the school's mission, promote the school in the larger community and support the school's development efforts.
Board members must also be visionaries. They must see the school's current reality with clarity, deeply understand its mission and potential and think toward the future. They must try to see the school as a whole (even as their vision is informed by their particular experience of the school) and understand it in a larger context. In a way, board members are more focused on how the school could serve their grandchildren than on how it serves their own children today.
Board members must be active planners. They must create a strategic plan and use it as a living document to keep them focused on goals (and not personalities, passing crises or minutiae).
Finally, board members must be able collaborators; they will work extensively with one another, with committee members from across the school community and especially with the Head of School, whom they hire, evaluate and support. Authority is vested in the board as a whole, and each trustee must support the decisions of the board and respect confidentiality.
The Board of Trustees pursues best practices and often refers to standards set by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), which publishes these Principles of Good Practice for a school's board of trustees.