10/31/11 School board focuses on team building

School board focuses on team building
By Mike Wilder The Times-News 10/31/11     
Reprinted with permission.

   A retreat of the Alamance-Burlington Board of Education planned for Monday will focus on team building and resolving conflict.

   The title of the retreat’s agenda is “Building a High-Performing and High-Satisfying Governing Board.”

   Comments from members interviewed in preparation for the retreat are summarized in written materials distributed in advance of the meeting. Facilitators who will be at the meeting spoke with board members individually as preparation.

   The comments say some board members don’t feel they are kept informed about what is going on in the school system, while others feel some board members dominate discussion of issues.

   While there has been lengthier discussion of school system issues among board members and an increase in the number of split votes on the school board during recent years, the existence of extensive personal conflict is unclear from board members’ public interactions with each other.

   The retreat’s agenda lists goals in three categories:   

  • “Get to know one another better and strengthen members’ sense of connection of being on a board.” This includes “effective communication” and resolving “adversarial treatment/attitudes,” along with creating trust and “strengthen(ing) the governing relationship between board members and the superintendent.”   
  • “Clarify mutual expectations and obligations.” This includes a focus on what board members expect “of each other, the board chair and of the superintendent.”   
  • “Create a sense of momentum and pride in the board.” This includes identifying reasons and goals for serving on the board, creating strong board relationship and having fun.

   The meeting is scheduled to last from 8 a.m. until about 4 p.m. at Proponent Federal Credit Union at 3504 Forestdale Drive, Burlington.

   The first hour of discussion has been set aside for board members to discuss a proposed agreement with Elon University to create a high school for high-achieving students.