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San Mateo Un HSD |  BP  2111  Administration

Superintendent Governance Standards   

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The Board of Trustees recognizes that effective district governance requires strong collaboration and teamwork with the Superintendent. Because the Board and Superintendent each have their unique roles and responsibilities, both contribute to the responsible governance of the district and the quality of education provided to the community's students.

(cf. 2000 - Concepts and Roles)

(cf. 2110 - Superintendent Responsibilities and Duties)

(cf. 9000 - Role of the Board)

(cf. 9005 - Governance Standards)

The Superintendent is expected to hold himself/herself to the highest standards of ethical conduct and professionalism.

Protocols: Board and Superintendent Operating Procedures


The Board is the educational policy-making body for the district. To effectively meet the district's challenges, the Board and Superintendent must function together as a leadership team. To ensure unity among team members, effective operating procedures, or protocols, must be in place. There are general protocols and those that are specific for the Board and for the Superintendent.

General - The Board and Superintendent as a term and as individuals will:

1. Keep learning and achievement for all students as the primary focus.

2 Value, support, and advocate for public education.

3. Operate openly with trust and integrity.

4. Govern in a dignified and professional manner, treating everyone with civility, dignity, and respect, while honoring the right to disagree with each other.

5. Define and respect the difference between administration and policy-making and respect the roles of each.

6. Keep confidential matters confidential. Uphold the legal requirements of the Brown Act.

7. Discuss public matters in publicly noticed Board meetings.

8. Focus on policy making, planning and evaluation for student success.

9. Ensure opportunities for a diverse range of views in the community to inform Board deliberations.

10. Recognize and respect difference of perspective and style on the Board and among staff, students, parents/guardians and the community.

Board Members as individuals will:

1. Be dedicated to making all members of the team successful.

2. Govern within Board-adopted policies and procedures.

3. Communicate a common vision.

4. Understand authority rests with the Board-as-a-whole and not with individuals.

5. Recognize decisions are made only at properly-scheduled meetings. Will not appear to make a decision that appropriately should be made by the entire Board.

6. Support decisions of the majority after honoring the right of individual members to express opposing viewpoints and vote their convictions.

7. Attend regularly-scheduled Board meetings unless a situation occurs that makes attendance impossible; cooperate in scheduling special meetings and/or work sessions for planning and training purposes.

8. Refrain from performing management functions that are the responsibility of the Superintendent and staff.

9. Set and monitor measurable outcomes for district goals.

10. Acknowledge that individual requests for reports and projects will be directed only to the Superintendent.

11. Understand the Superintendent's role to make personnel recommendations and changes in consultation with the Board.

12. Participate in establishing annual expectations and goals for the Superintendent. Objectively evaluate the Superintendent's performance and provide appropriate feedback.

13. Evaluate its own effectiveness annually; review its protocols at least every two years.

14. Communicate directly with the Superintendent whenever a question or concern is raised by a staff member, student, parent/guardian, or community member or that you have an individual concern.

15. Contact the Superintendent whenever contacted by the media regarding an incident, event, or agenda item.

16. Communicate directly with the Superintendent prior to Board meetings to address questions and/or concerns about agenda items; honor the "no surprises" rule with the Superintendent and fellow Board members.

17. Cast a vote on all matters except when a conflict of interest arises.

18. Recognize the individual role of constituents and special interest groups, while understanding the importance of using one's best judgment to represent all members of the community.

19. As time permits, visit school sites and attend school functions, but avoid interrupting instruction or interrupting employees at work.

20. Represent the district, when possible, by attending community functions.

21. Participate in professional development and commit the time and energy necessary to be an informed and effective leader.

The Superintendent will:

1. Respect and acknowledge the Board's role in setting policy and overseeing the performance of the Superintendent.

2. Work with the Board to establish a clear vision for the school district.

3. Communicate the common vision.

4. Recognize that the Board/Superintendent governance relationship requires support by the district's management team.

5. Understand the distinction between Board and staff roles, and respect the role of the Board as the representative of the community.

6. Accept leadership responsibility and be accountable for implementing the vision, goals, and policies of the district.

7. Prepare preliminary goals annually for the Board's consideration.

8. Provide data to the Board members so data-driven decisions can be made.

9. Make personnel recommendations and changes in consultation with the Board.

10. Communicate with Board members promptly and effectively.

11. Inform the Board prior to critical information becoming public; apprise all Board members in a timely manner of any major incident or when they may be called on to answer or explain.

12. Distribute information fully and equally to all Board members.

13. Provide information requested by one Board member to every Board member.

14. Distribute the Board agenda in a timely fashion and with enough time for Board study, and clarify information prior to scheduled meetings.

15. Never bring a matter to a public meeting that is a surprise to a Board member or Cabinet member.

16. Provide requests for additional information through a Board up-date, special report, Board agenda items or as a Board workshop.

17. Present major decisions initially as a discussion item, then place it on the next Board agenda for action.

18. Treat all Board members professionally.

19. Communicate with individual Board members to determine if concerns exist prior to a possible problem developing, and respect the right to disagree with each other.

20. Complete the Board's self-assessment instrument for the Board's consideration, once the Board self-assessment process is determined.

Legal Reference:


35020 Duties of employees set by governing board

Management Resources:


Superintendent Governance Standards, 2001

CSBA Professional Governance Standards, 2000


Professional Standards for the Superintendency, 1993




American Association of School Administrators:


adopted: July 15, 2010 San Mateo, California