The Importance of Charter School Board Members

The Importance of Charter School Board Membership

By Hana Chandoul, Strategic Communications Specialist

Charter schools are an innovative and progressive approach for parents seeking alternative high-quality educational options. The success and sustainability of charter schools would not be possible without the involvement of board members. Serving on the board of a charter school is more than just governing; it’s an opportunity to contribute to the improvement of education in the community. From providing oversight and accountability to offering leadership and fostering community engagement, board members play a critical role in the charter school movement.

Oversight and Accountability

One of the primary functions of a charter school board is to provide oversight and ensure accountability. Unlike traditional public schools, charter schools operate under a contract which outlines their mission, goals, and performance expectations. The board is responsible for upholding these commitments and ensuring that the school stays in line with its educational vision while meeting the established benchmarks for student achievement.

“As a board member, it has been a pleasure to come into the school and sit with the students discussing ways we can improve the school and communication,” said James Keys, vice president of the Riverscape Career Tech board. “As the students are our end user, it is imperative that we meet their needs and provide a safe learning environment.”

According to a report by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS), effective governance, including the role of the board, is crucial for ensuring the success of charter schools. Boards must establish clear performance goals, regularly monitor progress, and hold school leaders accountable for outcomes. This emphasis on accountability helps drive continuous improvement.

Strategic Leadership and Vision

Charter school boards also play a critical role in providing leadership and shaping the long-term vision of the school. Board members come from the community and bring a range of expertise to the table. These diverse perspectives help the board come together to develop comprehensive strategies for achieving the school’s objectives and staying true to the vision and mission of the school.

“Coming out of the height of the pandemic and recovery, which has included some network leadership transitions, we have focused on retaining our existing board,” said Danielle Eisenberg, board chair of Village Prep Woodland Hills. “All our current board members are deeply engaged and committed, serving as active committee members, and providing additional guidance and support to school and network leadership as needed. The consistency of the board has allowed us to build deep trust with one another and get aligned during our toughest moments during the last few years.”

A study published in the Journal of School Choice emphasizes the importance of effective governance in charter schools, noting that boards with strong leadership and strategic vision are better equipped to navigate challenges and identify opportunities for improvement. By setting clear goals in their agendas, establishing policies, and having focused priorities, board members help create a culture of excellence and innovation within the charter school community.

Advocacy and Community Engagement

In addition to their board responsibilities, charter school boards also serve as advocates for the school to the local community. Board members build partnerships and promote public awareness of the school’s achievements. Through their active involvement in community outreach and engagement efforts, board members help gather support for the school.

“Recently, a sports bar in town hosted a carnival which has a history of raising money for charitable organizations,” said Joe Reichert, president of the Shepard School by Eagle Community Schools of Ohio board. “This year, they reached out to our school and held an event raising $4,000 dollars. I got to sit in a dunk tank and had a great time. These are the kind of things that make you connect with communities and have made my board member experience fulfilling.”

Research published by the Center for Education Reform highlights the importance of community engagement in charter school governance, noting that successful charter schools actively involve parents, students, and community members in decision-making processes. This collaborative approach strengthens trust and fosters a sense of ownership and investment in the success of the school.

By fulfilling their responsibilities and showing dedication in their governing role, board members contribute to student success in their charter school.


Center for Education Reform. (2022). The State of Charter Schools. Retrieved from

Journal of School Choice. (2017). Special Issue: Charter School Governance and Management. Retrieved from

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. (2019). Strong Charter School Authorizing: From Theory to Practice. Retrieved from

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