LeadershipIn my previous post under the section on School Improvement, I expressed concern about the quality of our Adventist schools, and especially the small schools. One of the respondents gave the following explanation for this situation: “My theory on why so many of our small schools are subpar and failing: they are being run by amateurs in their spare time.” I think she is at least partly correct. The operating boards of our small schools are filled by people who are not professional educators and certainly do not give full time thought to the operation of the school. However, this is true of most not-for-profit organizations not just Adventist schools. Very few institutions in the nonprofit sector have full time professionals on their Board of Directors. So, how do we deal with small schools who have non-educators making the decisions about their operation?I have pondered this question for many years as I’ve worked with our Adventist schools, especially the small schools. I think the answer lies partly in the matter of leadership. Here is an excellent opportunity for the professional educators among us to give the training and guidance that is needed for good decision-making at the local operating level. If amateurs don’t have the tools to make good decisions for our small schools then the professionals should step forward and provide the leadership to fill this need.

First, members of local boards should be instructed in their proper role on the board. They need to be shown the difference between policy making and management. They should function in the policy arena and leave the management to the Head Teacher. Second, board members need to be instructed in their proper oversight role and shown the difference between oversight and micro-management.

A further area for leadership by the professional educators is to help head teachers in small schools understand how they are to function in the management of the school. If they don’t manage in a proper way there is a temptation for operating boards to dabble in this area of school operation.

So, this is a call for leadership on the part of our professional educators within the Adventist system. It is badly needed, especially in our small schools