School Governance 


Missouri public schools belong to the communities they serve.  Responsibility for governing and leading these public bodies is granted to the locally elected board and the professionals it hires to lead the District.  To fulfill these responsibilities, boards and superintendents must have the services of a dedicated partner who is committed to supporting the District with training, assessment, planning, and professional guidance to build a strong governance team.   Below are some of the services offered by EdCounsel’s School Governance Team to help your District achieve its vision of student success.

Board Development


To effectively meet the challenges of public education, school boards and superintendents must function together as a leadership team. Each leadership team must annually assess its development needs both as a governing body and as individuals. School Governance Team Services provides in-depth whole board training designed to support your board-superintendent team.  This training includes effective practices in all aspects of Board governance and oversight of administration.  The complex challenges of education require board members and administrators to address problems from multiple perspectives and across disciplines.   Our School Governance Team partners with the District’s Board-Superintendent team to identify and address your District’s governance and leadership training needs to accomplish the District’s vision for student success.


School board members will benefit greatly from our training in the following areas:


School board and board member roles and responsibilities;


School laws and regulations;


Effective school governance practices;


Board planning including the development of vision, long-range and annual renewal of plans;


Evaluation of progress toward goals and planned outcomes;


General procedures including ethics, parliamentary procedure,
duties of officers, agenda setting, conduct of meetings,
Sunshine Law requirements, and participatory decision making;


Purpose, development and management of policy, regulations and


Relationships between the Board and Superintendent;


Relationships between the Board and staff, patrons, the media and other governmental entities;


Meaningful oversight of school administration;


Student performance and reporting requirements;


School finance;


Community relations; and


School operations.

School Governance Audits


One unique service offered by our School Governance Team is the conduct of a comprehensive governance audit to examine the District’s compliance with various governance-related legal and policy requirements.   This service is designed to provide a comprehensive assessment of the District’s performance of its obligations under state and federal law, including the Missouri School Improvement Plan (MSIP), as well as board policies.  Our team advises the District how to best bring the District into compliance with these requirements and mitigate legal risks, and integrate legal compliance with best educational practices.  This assessment is conducted under the supervision of the firm’s attorneys and is confidential.  The team’s findings and analysis of the District’s level of performance and legal compliance are maintained as confidential and subject to attorney-client privilege to the fullest extent permitted by law.   This service provides Districts with an opportunity to accurately and objectively examine its performance without public scrutiny of the self-critical analysis.

Governance and Strategic Planning


If you want to end with student success, you must begin with a strategic plan for governing the District.  We believe that only the Board of Education, as the elected governing body of the District, can establish such a plan and set the direction for the District.  Our team has developed a process for making a comprehensive governance plan that aligns all governing documents in the District, including the Superintendent’s evaluation, with one set of priorities, objectives and SMART goals. This process involves: (1) initial and ongoing Board and leadership training, (2) a comprehensive review of data, (3) internal and external stakeholder input, (4) the development of a vision, mission, and values statement, (5) the setting of the priorities, objectives and SMART goals of the District; (6) the communication of the direction of the district; (7) the careful evaluation of outcomes; and (8) the adjustments and revisions to the governance plan.  Our team’s brand of governance planning presents the Board with an extraordinary opportunity to establish the governing priorities and direction for the District.

Professional Leadership Coaching


Our school governance team includes educators who have a great deal experience in leadership positions in Missouri public schools.  Our team can provide individualized coaching for emerging leaders in your District in all areas impacting leadership and governance of the District.  It is often critical to have an outside, objective and highly experienced team provide professional coaching for educational leaders as they hone their leadership and administrative skills.   Our team can provide this external expertise and support to help your District leaders succeed in meeting District priorities, objectives and goals.

Transition Management


The average tenure of a superintendent seems to grow shorter each year.   Each April, many school districts experience a change in their board composition.  Each of these changes in the Board-Superintendent relationship impacts the governance and leadership of the District. The changes in the relationship must be carefully managed to avoid a disruption in the accomplishment of the District’s long-term plan for the education of children.  Our team assists school districts with the transition of professional and elected leaders through training, interim educational services, and ongoing evaluation of the District’s plan for governing and leading the District.

Community Engagement


Engagement of internal and external stakeholders is vital to the success of any Missouri public school district.  Our team of experienced educators work hand-in-hand with the District’s Board and Superintendent to ensure that we combine the most effective engagement strategies with in-depth expertise in public schools.  This approach allows us to establish trust and credibility, resolve issues, tackle negative perceptions and ensure everyone involved has a clear understanding and acceptance of the approach proposed and the resulting benefits.   By informing and engaging all stakeholders in a way that is independent and impartial, we aim to maintain high levels of trust and integrity. We ensure the appropriate range of key stakeholders are involved based on collaboration with District leadership; from students, parents, teachers, board members, employees, community and civic leaders, to patrons of the District. Failure to engage these parties can result in dissatisfaction with District governance and leadership and lead to contentious opposition to District initiatives. Our community engagement can provide solid, actionable data regarding stakeholder perceptions, concerns, goals and aspirations for your District.