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Some Doís and Doníts of Board of Education-Superintendent Relationships

For the Superintendent


  1. Talk with and give the same information to all Board members.
  2. Avoid surprises. Keep the Board informed as situations develop.
  3. Tell the Board what you believe - not what they want to hear. Keep the Board informed about what goes well as well as what didnít go well.
  4. Be prepared for Board meetings by sending materials out in advance.
  5. Seek Board input on major decisions. Get Board approval on sensitive issues.
  6. Be willing to make unpopular recommendations, when necessary.
  7. Present alternatives to the Board in an objective manner.
  8. Orient and assist new Board members.
  9. Help the Board set goals for the district.
  10. Admit your mistakes.


  1. Embarrass Board members.
  2. Expect 100% approval of all of your recommendations.
  3. Overwhelm the Board with information.
  4. Make public statements before informing the Board.

For the Board of Education


  1. Handle complaints properly. Communicate concerns about the district to the Superintendent first.
  2. Avoid bringing up surprises. Keep Superintendent informed or ask that an item be placed on an agenda.
  3. Be open and candid with the Superintendent. Communicate praise as well as areas of concern to the Superintendent.
  4. Be prepared by reading all materials sent out in advance.
  5. Act only as a whole Board, not as individuals in Board matters.
  6. Act on tough issues despite community pressures.
  7. Ask for more information if not ready to act, especially when a resident raises an issue.
  8. Evaluate the Superintendent.
  9. Lead meetings skillfully.
  10. Keep information confidential.


  1. Embarrass your Superintendent.
  2. Take it personally when the majority of the Board votes against your viewpoint.
  3. Expect the Superintendent to act precisely as you want and expect.
  4. Encroach in administrative areas (micro manage).

Both the Superintendent and the Board of Education can:

  • Show loyalty and support to one another
  • Be open and candid with on another
  • Not harbor hidden agendas
  • Not circumvent each other
  • Remain flexible and have a sense of humor!
  • Board memo fans flames

    By Nisha Gutierrez, San Gabriel Valley Reporter, May 31, 2006

    BALDWIN PARK - A memo spelling out the limits of school board members personal authority - including a requirement that all requests for information go through the superintendent - has been sent to all district managers by the Baldwin Park Unified School board.

    The memo, compiled by some board members and issued by District Superintendent Mark Skvarna following his performance evaluation by the board this month, explains Board Bylaw 9200.

    It reminds board members they do not have individual authority, cannot do business with the district, cannot command the services of any school employee and are not to become intimately involved in day-to-day activity of the district.

    It just served as a reminder because there have been indications that some employees were responding to requests by individual board members, said board member Jack White. It was just a clarification to ensure everyone knows the rules.

    Board member Anthony Bejarano said he believes he may have been the target of the memo.

    They put this memo out but we all know the board bylaws; one board member cant order people what to do, Bejarano said. To me it seems like they are trying to keep me from getting information to the people of Baldwin Park and keep people from talking to me.

    Bejarano said district officials do not like that he questions the use of board money and board members actions.

    The superintendent and associate superintendent were going to a conference in New York to receive a grant and I questioned why the board president was going there a week before the conference on board money, Bejarano said. This is what they dont like and thats why I think they sent it out.

    The memo also says the superintendent is the chief executive officer and educational leader of the District and executes all board decisions and that board members are obligated to treat staff members with respect and fairness at all times.

    Skvarna said the memo put together by the board was routine procedure and was not intended to target any one board member.

    They had an evaluation and the board president and legal counsel drafted it and directed me to prepare it, Skvarna said. Despite what some people may think it was just a reaffirmation of the board to abide by the bylaws. It was not intended to say that I am in charge. I know exactly who I work for.

    Baldwin Park City Councilman Anthony Bejarano, son of school board member Anthony Bejarano, said he became interested in the memo after a district employee brought it to his attention.

    [The employees] were unsure what it implied so I took a look at it and I felt in unsaid terminology it makes it so the superintendent is insulated within the organization and isolates the board from the rest of the organization, Councilman Bejarano said.

    MDUSD - Mt. Diablo Unified School District Blog

    MDUSD Information and Discussion Blog. This Blog is operated by school board members Paul Strange and Gary Eberhart and will provide a forum for discussion of happenings in MDUSD. We will celebrate the achievements that occur in MDUSD and provide an opportunity for discussion and input on matters that can be improved. All schools, sites, Parent Groups and Teachers will be provided access to the shared calendar to make event information available to the community.

    On February 20, 2008, the two Board member posted their audio comments calling for the resignation of the Superintendent. They also posted the Superintendent response indicating he would not resign. They followed up their posting with an explanation of what the next steps would be if Superintendent resigned.

    Send mail to mikemcmahonausd@yahoo.com with questions or comments about this web site.
    Last modified: June 1, 2006

    Disclaimer: This website is the sole responsibility of Mike McMahon. It does not represent any official opinions, statement of facts or positions of the Alameda Unified School District. Its sole purpose is to disseminate information to interested individuals in the Alameda community.