Trustee Dale Rutstein writes to the community and provides additional
insight to Daryl Newton's email.
From: Dale Rutstein
Your email to the ISM Stakeholders web site is thoughtful and timely. No doubt many others are thinking some of the same thoughts that you have expressed. I think its great the constituents are taking a continuing interest in this process. Your concerns are quite valid but I think there are a few clarifications needed.
1. This will be an interim Board that will not run again. The sustaining members are there to "sustain" ISM in just this kind of situation because they have long term interests. As they indicated in their proposal, the interim board will step in and then remove themselves when a proper election can be held according to a new charter by May 2007.
2. The interim board chosen is diverse: 6 from the private sector and 4 from international organizations/foundations. The balance of nationalities reflects the pattern of many previous ISM Boards. It is right that institutions are represented because ISM is a complex institution. What we need is senior management leadership experience.
3. While, as Dr. Jahr said, it is essential for a Superintendent to be an educator, it is equally essential for a Board not to try and be part of the educational administration of the school. The reason: Boards that are tempted to think they can run the school better than their administration team end up preventing their hired professionals from doing their jobs well.
4. While its true that some Board members serve on the education committee just as they serve of finance, legal and resources committees, it doesn't follow that a Board must reserve spaces for trained educators, any more than it would for lawyers, doctors or accountants. Gilbert Brown, an eminent consultant on the international education circuit, visited ISM last year and described the ideal Board member as a CEO. You need people who understand governance, strategy and vision. He said, "you want a board of trustees, not a board of inspectors."
5. Because Boards usually do not have the ideal competencies to select the Superintendent, the practice of consulting specialized recruitment firms has become the norm. These firms consult with stakeholders, develop a profile of the ideal candidate, suggest a short list of qualified candidates who are then vetted by the administrators, faculty, parents and sometimes even student committees before the Board makes a final decision.
6. On the subject of the Board requiring specific "technical and pedagogical" knowledge, ISM Board policy asks educom to primarily review proposed curriculum changes and to review school results from a number of information sources. This might require a small amount of technical knowledge but it does not really require any pedagogical knowledge. Educom is designed to be "a forum for discussion on curriculum matters before formal presentation to the Board." In short, yes, it can certainly be useful to have educators on the interim Board, but it is not essential. It is essential is avoid Board members, educators or non-educators, who think they can get involved in running the school without disastrous results. I think the composition of the interim team is well suited to the immediate tasks at hand.
Rutstein, Chief of Communication