A School Board Improves Its Focus Using the Baldrige Framework

By Christine Schaefer

This past Saturday (September 24, 2016) was a proud day for Greg Gibson, a member of the Judges Panel for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. As superintendent of Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City Independent School District (ISD) in Texas, Gibson was delighted to see his district’s board of trustees publicly recognized for its performance at the annual convention of the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA).

Specifically, the board of trustees for Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD is one of five (among school boards for about 1,100 public school districts across Texas) named a “2016 Texas Honor School Board” by TASA. Selection criteria for the annual award include “support for educational performance, support for educational improvement projects, commitment to a code of ethics, and maintenance of harmonious and supportive relationships among board members,” according to the TASA website.

photo of school board

Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD Board Members:
Front row, from left to right: Mr. John Correu, Trustee; Mr. Robert Westbrook, Vice President; Mrs. Amy Driesbach, Trustee; and Mr. Jerry Perkins, Asst. Secretary.
Back row, left to right: Dr. Greg Gibson, Secretary of Schools; Mr. Mark Wilson, Trustee; Mr. Gary Inmon, President; and Mr. David Pevoto, Secretary.

Describing his board’s recent achievement, Gibson explained, “Starting about five years ago, we took the bold step of wiping our slate clean of our previous agenda in order to focus our actions at board meetings on student achievement and staff satisfaction and engagement. Previously, we had wasted too much time at meetings on other issues.”

He added, “We started with the definition of governance in glossary found in the back of the Baldrige Excellence Framework booklet (which includes the Education Criteria for Performance Excellence). The definition, which reflects the systems perspective that is a core concept of the Baldrige framework, begins as follows:

the system of management and controls exercised in the stewardship of your organization…

“We built on that definition and the Baldrige Criteria concepts in item 1.2 [the section on an organization’s governance system],” explained Gibson.

To improve its focus on the school district’s true priorities during board meetings, Gibson said, the seven board members and school system leader initially worked on improving the governance board’s performance in relation to 29 indicators of excellence from a longstanding state self-assessment tool.

“Once we maxed that out, we looked to continuously improve by moving to the Baldrige Criteria,” said Gibson. “The new self-analysis we built—it’s an inventory for good governance—is based directly on the Baldrige Excellence Framework. We’ll start using it in the next school year.”

For the statewide award received by his board last weekend, Gibson noted, “We wrote our application around the work our trustees are doing with the Baldrige framework.”

Congratulations to the board of trustees for Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD—and kudos to all boards of directors that similarly are using or plan to use the Baldrige framework to achieve and sustain good governance!

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