Governance at Pasadena Waldorf School
Rudolf Steiner, in his address to the teachers at the beginning of the second school year in Stuttgart on September 22, 1920, said the following:
“The (Waldorf) school will have its own administration run on a republican basis and will not be administered from above. We must not lean back and rest securely on the orders of a headmaster; we must be republic of teachers and kindle in ourselves the strength that will enable us to do what we have to do with full responsibility. Each one of you, as an individual, has to be fully responsible.” (The Art of Administration, 1992, p. iii)
It is from this instruction that a Waldorf school’s unique governance structure takes shape. The success of Pasadena Waldorf School depends on the shared responsibility between the Board of Trustees and the College of Teachers. Their shared goal is to have the PWS fulfill its mission and keep on course in the long term. The Board focuses on financial and practical matters while the College focuses on pedagogical matters. Together, the Board and the College make the Waldorf School a well-rounded organization with a strong governance structure and an exceptional curriculum.
The Board of Trustees and the College of Teachers are the two policy-setting bodies of Pasadena Waldorf School.
Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees of the Pasadena Waldorf School is governed by its bylaws and the relevant federal and California laws governing non-profit organizations. The Board of Trustees has overall fiduciary responsibility for the school, including good fiscal and legal practices and long-term sustainability of the school and fulfillment of its mission. The Board delegates to the College of Teachers authority over the curriculum and the responsibility for its quality and the quality of the faculty who teach it. In practice, the Board and College work closely together to nurture and sustain the school.
In May 2015 PWS adopted new bylaws that clarified the relationship between the Board of Trustees and the College of Teachers.
Members of the Board of Trustees are drawn from faculty, parents of current and former students, and members of the larger community. The Board of Trustees hires and supervises the Business Administrator who oversees the business and non-pedagogical administrative affairs of the School, implementing the policies set by the Board of Trustees.
College of Teachers
The College of Teachers is a group of experienced teachers and administrative staff who are dedicated to visioning of the entire School and its educational programs, and fostering the School’s cultural life and its place in the greater community. Through mandated committees, much of the practical work articulating and facilitating the educational program takes place. Full-time teachers are hired by the full College, which makes such decisions using a consensus model.
The College of Teachers also hires the Pedagogical Administrator who works collaboratively with the faculty and Business Administrator to implement the policies, procedures, and pedagogical standards created by the College of Teachers. The Pedagogical Administrator monitors and supervises all teaching faculty, and is also generally the person who works to resolve any parental concerns that cannot be resolved at the classroom or high-school administrative level.
The Dual Manager Governance Model
Although PWS has had an Administrator for many years, after the founding of both our preschool and high school programs, it became clear that the educational programs of the school would require additional administrative oversight and support in order to ensure that the necessarily increasingly complex policies set by the College of Teachers would be implemented with consistency and efficiency.
In 2014 the school authorized an in-depth study of possible alternative governance models, undertaken by a Governance Transformation Mandate Group co-authorized by both Board and College. A number of possible models were considered and presented for input from the PWS community. The Dual Manager Model (see simplified diagram below), in which a business administrator and pedagogical administrator collaborate closely to carry out the policies of the Board and College, was officially adopted and affirmed by both Board and College in fall of 2014, and is being fully implemented for the 2016-17 school year.
The governance mandate group also recommended that PWS adopt new bylaws that would clarify the relationship between Board and College, would include language regarding the role of the Parent Council, and would also encourage and support the Board’s transition from a working board to a policy-setting and strategic role. Finally, the mandate group developed a Governance Manual, a guide that defines the roles, authority and responsibilities of the school’s various policy-making and administrative bodies and outlines how each body works and how it makes decisions.