The Multigrade Classroom

School Board

The school board is one of the most important components in maintain a quality school program. It is the governing body of the school and strengthens Adventist Education.


Organizational Flow

It is important for a principal to understand the organization of the North American Division (NAD) K–12 school system and how the church governs that structure. The flowchart below provides highlights of the relationships as they relate specifically to principals. Notice that some of the arrows indicate lines of authority, and other indicate advisory functions.

NAD Working Policy and the Church Manual contain the basic policies for the operation of the Adventist Church and related institutions. Union conference Education Codes are the primary source for many more policies and guidelines that accommodate most state/provincial laws pertaining to education.


School Constituency

The local school constituency consists of all the baptized members of the churches who have chosen to join together to operate a school. In addition, all members of the faculty, the officers of the Local Conference, the Local Conference superintendent and his/her associate(s), and the Union Conference director of education and his/her associate(s) may be members.

As a teacher you should visit each constituent church before school, if at all possible.  Introduce yourself and be friendly.  These are the people who support the school. They are sacrificing to make the school possible, and they want to know you.

Although you will attend one of the constituent churches regularly, visit the others occasionally. Become part of the church life. Members like to see you, not only at church on Sabbath, but also at social events.

While it is important to attend the constituent churches the majority of the time, you should not feel that you must attend every Sabbath. Occasionally, you may want to visit family or simply get away for a weekend, to alleviate the sense of being constantly on duty.  However, this should not happen more than once a month unless unforeseen circumstances arise.


School Constitution and Bylaws

The constitution and bylaws are the written documents which all constituent churches have agreed will govern the school and its operations. These are very important documents that delineate the constituency’s organizational governance.

If the school does not have a constitution, check with your Local Conference Office of Education for a sample constitution.  The school board should provide leadership in writing a constitution. Once the school board has developed a constitution, it should be presented to the constituency for approval.

Once a constitution is approved, the board should periodically review and suggest constitution revisions to the constituency at a constituency meeting.  A constitution should be ratified every three to four years.


School Board

The school board is elected by the school constituency as defined in the school constitution. It has been given the responsibility for the operation of the school within the guidelines and policies adopted by the NAD/Union, the Local Conference Board of Education, and the local school constitution.

The functions of the board are listed in the NAD School Board Manual.  Also check with your Local Conference/Union’s Education Code. Below is a summary of these functions:

  • Ensure implementation of policies and plans of the Local Conference Office of Education.
  • Develop a clear, practical set of objectives that are in harmony with the Seventh-day Adventist philosophy of education.
  • Develop policies in areas of local concern (i.e., use of school property, tuition and/or other methods of support, plant maintenance).
  • Participate in the school accreditation process.
  • Plan an annual balanced operating budget.
  • When boards discuss personnel or employment issues the conference superintendent, or designee, must be present.


Executive Secretary

The principal/teacher is the executive secretary of the board. As the administrator of the school, he/she is responsible for carrying out the actions of the board. The board chairperson and principal/teacher work cooperatively to prepare the agenda for each board meeting, to give tactful leadership in the board meeting, and to see that all actions are implemented.

The executive secretary of the board is responsible to:

  • Send reminders, including time and place, to all board members in advance of any meeting.
  • Prepare the board agenda in consultation with the chair.
  • Prepare and present a principal’s report.
  • Record board minutes at each meeting.  Since it is often difficult to discuss agenda items and keep notes on voted and non-voted actions, some boards elect a recording secretary who records the actions and prepares the minutes for the executive secretary to review.
  • Provide copies of the previous board minutes for each board member.
  • File a copy of voted minutes.  School board minutes are legal documents that are permanently filed at the school.
  • Send a copy of voted minutes to the Local Conference Office of Education.

Note:  You may want to prepare a board member notebook, which is kept at the school, for each board member.  Include tabs to make it easy to find items (i.e., current agenda, minutes, subcommittee minutes, financial statements, constitution, student handbook, a copy of the last visiting committee’s accreditation report).

Develop positive relationships with board members. Encourage communication and use your influence during board meetings to maintain positive discussions.

Issues involving sensitive personal situations should be discussed privately with the parties involved and not with the board as a whole.


School Finance/Budgeting

A knowledgeable and capable school treasurer plays a vital role in keeping the school operating smoothly. The school treasurer should prepare a written monthly financial report, which he/she will present during each board meeting.  Work closely with your school treasurer to be aware of your school’s financial health. Additional information is found in Finances.


School Board and Student Discipline

When student discipline situations arise that may require the expulsion of a student, it is important for the school board to work closely with the Local Conference superintendent. Many schools establish a small discipline committee so that specific information is shared with as few people as possible.  This board voted committee might be comprised of only three members (i.e., principal/teacher, the school board chair, and the pastor). Most schools require board action to expel a student.


Executive Sessions of the School Board

Executive sessions may take place before, in the middle, or at the end of a regular board meeting. They are, by definition, exclusive to board members.


Relationship to the Church Board

The church and school should not be viewed as separate operations, but as symbiotic ministries that are vital to each other.  On many local church boards, the principal/teacher is an ex-officio member.

  • Be aware of the make-up and expectations of the church board.
  • It is important that the church board be informed of what is happening at their school.

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