Our approach to governance is meant to provide structure for coming together in service to the children, to the school, and to each other. We grow strong as individuals and as an organization by working through difficulties and disagreements together. Most importantly, when we work together in a spirit of service, bringing open minds and hearts to create clear intentions, unanticipated possibilities and paths toward their realization can emerge, that might otherwise not be possible. Community is the crucible in which we give form to our aspirations, work to fulfill our mission, and realize our vision for the future.
Working with the Spiritual
Our school, like the education it serves, seeks to honor a spiritual dimension in human life while leaving individuals free to define “spiritual” for themselves. Waldorf teachers meditate in their daily preparation for teaching and other work on behalf of the school community. This kind of activity invites the interest and help of the spiritual beings that guide our school.
Our working groups have addressed the spiritual in various ways, whether through a study of Steiner’s lectures or books, a moment of silence before a meeting, a verse recited together, a request for help from a higher power, or a simple awareness of the spiritual whenever a group gathers. We understand that both challenges and opportunities are a natural result of the unfolding development of individuals, groups, and the school.
Just as Waldorf education proceeds from a threefold picture of the human being (often expressed as thinking, feeling, and willing), our governance proceeds from a threefold picture of school life consisting of cultural life, economic life, and rights life. (Rights life involves assuring equal access and treatment under law.) These three spheres of activity intersect, but they operate on different principles, and we try to work appropriately with each sphere.
Teachers, parents, and administrators work in homogeneous groups (Faculty, Parent Council, and Administrative Staff) and in mixed groups (College of Teachers, Board of Trustees, Administrative Committee) to govern the school. Each group carries its own areas of responsibility and authority. (For example, the College of Teachers oversees the educational program, and the Board of Trustees oversees finances, legal matters, and the physical site).
We have chosen collaborative governance not only because it is effective, but also because it helps people and communities grow. We strive to foster a culture of servant- leadership, and we aim to achieve consensus about important issues. Because our organization is not hierarchical, its effectiveness depends on our healthy interpersonal and intergroup relationships. These are marked by: attentive listening, clear communication, mutual respect, open-mindedness, and personal responsibility. As much as we value the results of our work, we appreciate that the process of working together also nurtures our school.
Working this way requires a dynamic and appropriate balance among the three aspects of school life. We also constantly balance independence and interdependence, freedom and form, striving to avoid the extremes of chaos or rigidity. So that individuals can act freely from their own insight and inspiration, we need to provide them with sufficient support, structure, and guidance. So that collaboration can be effective and energizing, we make clear agreements about policies, procedures, and accountability, and share a common understanding of how we work together. When delegating authority to individuals or groups, we make every effort to define that authority and its limits clearly. In our governing groups, we engage in study in order to deepen our understanding of our work.