Serving Preschool Through 8th Grade in the San Francisco East Bay Since 1962

The Work of the Board of Trustees

As an NAIS member and CAIS-accredited independent school, Seven Hills is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization governed by an independent, self-perpetuating Board of Trustees. Trustees determine the Seven Hills mission and strategic goals, and also act as fiduciaries for future generations of Seven Hills students—exercising oversight of the school’s financial health, approving the school’s annual budget, and overseeing the school’s physical assets and fundraising efforts. Importantly, the Board selects, evaluates and supports the Head of School. The Board does not get involved in the day-to-day affairs of the school, disciplinary or personnel issues, or admissions decisions—which are the responsibility of the Head of School. In short, the trustees act as stewards of the school, while serving as ambassadors of the Seven Hills mission.

Key areas of Board activity include:
Planning – Developing and monitoring the Seven Hills strategic plan and the school’s progress toward meeting its goals and objectives
Finance –Stewarding the school’s financial assets and approving the Seven Hills annual budget, which includes setting tuition
Collaboration - Supporting, retaining and advising the Head of School

The Board adheres to the "Principles of Good Practice" established by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). The Principles provide guidelines for the Board to use in carrying out its responsibilities. Seven Hills is part of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and is accredited by the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS). And the Board’s activities benefit from the best practices developed and shared by the 1,700-plus member schools of NAIS and are formally reviewed by the regular accreditation process of the CAIS.
  

FAQs

List of 5 frequently asked questions.

  • Q: How is the work of the Board of Trustees carried out?

    There are six standing board committees: Executive, Committee on Trustees, Development, Finance, Marketing & Enrollment Management, and Risk Management & Audit. Current subcommittees are Investment, Retreat Planning, and Head Review & Evaluation. These committees are comprised of smaller groups of Board members. Committee meetings are held separately from the full Board on a monthly basis and generally work to research and develop recommendations on issues of importance to the school. Board members typically serve on one or two committees.  Most committees also include at least one Seven Hills staff member who participates as a liaison to school administration. At the discretion of the Head of School and Board Chair, ad hoc or advisory committees can be formed as needs arise.
     
    The full Board meets most months during the school year. These meetings typically include reports from the school administration and from Board committees addressing matters that require the Board's attention. Periodically, outside speakers make presentations on key topics such as diversity, fundraising and trends in independent school education.
     
  • Q: What is the leadership structure of the Board?

    As is prescribed in the Board's by-laws, it is led by the Officers who comprise the Executive Committee. Following the Principles of Best Practices for governance set out by NAIS, the Executive Committee at Seven Hills includes the Board Chair, at least one Vice-Chair, the Secretary and the Treasurer.
  • Q: How do the Board and the Head of School coordinate their work?

    The Board, with the Head, creates the school's strategic plan.  The Head and Admin Leadership team are responsible for overseeing its implementation. The Head also works in partnership with the Board to establish and refine the school’s mission and articulate that mission to students, faculty and staff, parents, alumni, and the community. The Head alone is responsible for collaborating with faculty and staff to develop and maintain the academic programs that fulfill the school's mission. And the Head deals directly with parent needs and concerns while also responsible for the management of the school’s regular operations.
  • Q: Who serves on the Board and how is it composed?

    Members of the Board have included current parents, alumni, past parents, educators, and community leaders. Following the NAIS Principles, the Board strives for a composition that "reflects the strategic expertise, resources, and perspectives needed to achieve the mission and strategic objectives of the school."

    Seven Hills enjoys an enormous surplus of community members who could serve as trustees. The Committee on Trustees of the Board determines which mix of skill sets and outside experiences may be needed for incoming board members based on the School’s strategic needs and goals. The committee also looks at the skills and experiences of departing Trustees and tries to maintain a balance of skills and perspectives from one year to another. Once the Board’s current needs are identified, the Committee on Trustees examines the alumni, parent, past parent, and grandparent population as well as educators and community leaders from outside the Seven Hills community to determine the right mix of time, wisdom, and skills currently needed to help steward Seven Hills.

    The Committee on Trustees takes its role of presenting potential trustees to the full Board very seriously. Over the course of each school year, members of the Committee on Trustees meet with candidates to get to know them, and familiarize them with the work of the Board. The slate of new trustees is voted on by the full Board each spring. Trustees are expected to fully participate in all areas of school life and serve three-year terms, which may be renewed twice. The Board's bylaws allow for up to twenty-five voting members. Members of the Seven Hills community are welcome to nominate qualified candidates by contacting the Chair of the Committee on Trustees.

    Seven Hills is fortunate to have several of our current parents on the Board of Trustees, as well as alumni parents, alumni, educators and community leaders. We deeply appreciate those volunteers who serve as trustees.  We thank them for their time, talent, and deep dedication to the long-term success of the school.
  • Q: How does the Board communicate with parents?

    Throughout the year, parents can expect to receive communications from the Chair of the Board of Trustees in which he details significant school developments and pertinent news. These include the annual All Community Parent Dinner, parent events, and periodic emails. 
The Board of Trustees helps me navigate a future we imagine together. By looking up and out to the world in which our students will contribute and thrive, the Board serves as leaders, ambassadors, visionaries and partners. Seven Hills is better for their leadership. - Kathleen McNamara, Head of School