Expanding on the role of the Board

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Dear Hilltop Community;

As we get a hint of summer and look towards the impending transitions at the end of a school year, the Board of Trustees is doing the same.

Last month the board hosted an open board meeting with Cheese Boards Galore! Interested community members learned more about the work of the Hilltop board generally, and the opportunities to join the board more specifically. We were thrilled with the robust turnout and grateful that we have such strong interest in joining the board for the upcoming school year.

Given the (happily!) growing interest in our work and our desire to engage with the Hilltop community, we wanted to share the charge of the board more broadly. We do so with an effort towards transparency, collaboration, and understanding.

The fundamental role of the Board of Trustees is to determine and oversee policies that support the mission of the school and to ensure the school’s fiscal stability.

In specific terms, this includes:

  • the hiring and evaluation of the Head of School
  • appointing standing and ad hoc committees
  • overseeing the lease and facility use
  • fundraising
  • strategic planning.

Equally important, Board members serve as ambassadors for the school community.

Many of those very tasks were on the agenda of our board meeting earlier this week: we discussed the budget, which, after a few years of significant sustaining federal grants during the pandemic, is returning to a place of normalcy (which means leaner days ahead). We talked about the timeline for the annual evaluation of the head of school; highlighted upcoming events and the importance of attending all 50th anniversary celebrations; debated whether the time is right to launch a fundraising campaign; and considered our ongoing strategic planning process and opportunities for growth.

While the charge of the board may be clear, the line that is often most blurry for school boards typically composed of current parents is what the board does not do. Namely, the Board must stay out of the daily running of the school and allow the Head of School to manage that work. This includes management of staff and curriculum content and oversight, neither of which the Board is involved in.

Board work and service, when done right, is demanding. It requires a commitment of time, energy and resources. It is also engaging, fulfilling, and gratifying to support an institution you believe in; uplift a community of families; and partner with educators who spend their day caring for our children.

We look forward to continuing our work in support of Hilltop as the school year wraps up, and to celebrating 50 years of Hilltop at our anniversary weekend in June! Be there, or be square! (Or trinomial cubed?).

The 2023 Hilltop Board of Trustees

Nancy Wheeler Dickson, Board Chair

Geneva Morse, Incoming Chair

Marta Bernbaum

Juliette Carr

Louisa Conrad

Todd Fahey, Treasurer

Andrea Lemon

Shelley Lockyear

Tamara Mount, ex-Officio

Asher Pucciarello

Dora Urujeni