Building the Team

Charter school boards are designed to be self-perpetuating, which means that you and your colleagues will nominate and recommend new board members as vacancies occur. This should be an ongoing and active process, followed by a thorough plan for orienting your new colleagues to their board responsibilities.

When preparing to fill a vacancy, the board should consider the following:

  1. Who is currently sitting on the board and what skill set does each individual bring to the table?
  2. Based on your school’s mission, what additional skills would be helpful to continue progress toward the mission?

Now, armed with an outline of desired skills, look around your community for individuals who match those skills. When you find an individual who possesses the desired skills to round out your board, ask if they are interested in serving on a charter school board. If the person is interested, find out if he or she is a resident of the state and a US citizen; if there is any potential for conflicts of interest between their professional and personal life and serving on the board; and if they have the time to devote to attending meetings.

If you find multiple candidates that fit the skill set outlined by your board, discuss nominating one and asking the others to serve on a committee until an additional board position become available.

It is important to remember, when seeking candidates to fill vacancies, that employees of the charter school or management company which contracts with the school, or an employee of Central Michigan University acting as a representative of Central Michigan University are prohibited from serving as a board member.


The CMU Board of Trustees has adopted a specific policy governing the method of selection, appointment and removal of charter public school board members. The following overview outlines the process followed in recommending prospective board members for appointment or removal.

  1. The school board first nominates by majority vote, in accordance with the Open Meetings Act, prospective board members to be presented to the Center;
  2. The prospective board member completes the Application for Board Appointment and submits it for consideration to the Center;
  3. The Center conducts a criminal background check;
  4. The Center conducts a personal interview;
  5. Based on a successful review of the candidate, the Center recommends him/her to the CMU Board of Trustees for consideration at its next public meeting;
  6. After appointment by the CMU Board of Trustees, the prospective board member swears the constitutional Oath of Office; and
  7. The board member files the Oath of Office with the Center and begins serving.

The Application for Board Appointment was designed to implement the policies outlined by the CMU Board of Trustees, including the criminal background history disclosure requirement. This application has become an essential tool in identifying and presenting qualified candidates to the CMU Board of Trustees for consideration and approval as a charter public school board member.

The Method of Selection, Appointment and Removal Policy can be found under the “Resources” tab on the Center’s website at:


Once a new board member has been seated, you and your colleagues will need to have a plan for ensuring that person understands your school’s mission, organization, culture, and operations.

While an official procedure that includes the distribution of a common set of resources and materials is best, even an informal series of meetings to help your new colleague acclimate to his/her new role can be a valuable orientation tool. Your goal is to ensure that the board member has the same understanding of and respect for your school’s mission and organization that you do, and that he/she will govern with continuity.

Work to connect new board members with this field guide and with board resources available through the Center at Contact the Center if you have questions or would like more information about bringing new board members up to speed.


Knowing Where You are Headed
Being Prepared
Knowing the Terrain
Managing Your Assets
Sending and Receiving Messages
Laying the Trail
Administering First Aid
Seeking Help if You’re Lost
Building the Team
Knowing When You Have Arrived
Communicating with Base Camp

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