Member Responsibilities and Expectations
The Board of Trustees is the guardian of Austin Prep’s mission. As such, it is the Board’s responsibility to ensure that the School’s mission is the compass that charts the course for Austin Prep and the lens through which all long-range and strategic decisions are made. The Board is responsible for ensuring that the School’s mission remains central and relevant to the Austin Prep community and monitors the continued success of the School in fulfilling its mission.
Members of the Board of Trustees are in a unique position to make a significant contribution to our School. The vitality and future well-being of Austin Prep depends on the commitment, vision, and caring leadership of our Board members. We hold in trust all that is important in the life of the School and as such, we must be clear about our responsibilities and expectations.
- Trustees will be knowledgeable about the School’s mission and strategic goals and will represent them appropriately and accurately within the community;
- Trustees will actively support and promote the School’s mission, vision, strategic goals, and policy positions – which they will do by familiarizing themselves with the School’s bylaws, mission statement, and associated documents;
- Trustees will stay fully informed and knowledgeable about current operations and issues by regularly attending Board and committee meetings, arriving fully prepared to participate in the meeting, and being present in the life of the School;
- The Board sets policy and focuses on long-range and strategic issues. Trustees acknowledge that their role is governance and leadership, not management, and they will redirect back to the Head of School those stakeholders (e.g., staff, parents, students, alumni, or community members) who hope to engage Trustees as an “appeals court” or “grievance committee.” Individual Trustees do not become involved directly in specific management, personnel, programming, or operational issues;
- Authority is vested in the Board of Trustees as a whole. Individual Trustees who learn of an issue of importance to the School has a “no surprise policy” obligation to bring it to the Head of School, who speaks for the School, or to the Chair of the Board, who speaks for the Board of Trustees, and must refrain from responding to a situation individually;
- Trustee takes care to separate the interests of the School from the specific needs of a particular child or constituency;
- Trustees accept and support Board decisions. Once a decision has been made, the Board speaks with one voice;
- Trustees keep all Board deliberations confidential;
- Trustees guard against conflict of interest, whether personal or business related, in accordance with the School’s policy;
- Trustees have the responsibility to support the Head of School and to affirmatively demonstrate that support within the community;
- Each Trustee, not just the treasurer and members of the finance committee, has fiduciary responsibility to the School for sound financial management;
- Trustees are ambassadors of philanthropy for Austin Prep and actively contribute to the fundraising initiatives of the School. These initiatives include strategic planning for development and active financial support of the School’ annual and capital giving programs. Trustees commit annually to making the School a philanthropic priority and each Trustee is encouraged to make lifetime, as well as testamentary gifts to the School.
- The Board of Trustees engages in ongoing professional development to ensure that its governance remains closely aligned with the best practices of Catholic independent schools.
Approved by the Board of Trustees September 11, 2021
Adopted from the NAIS Principles of Good Practice