The Berwick Board of Trustees is currently comprised of 20 members of the community who serve without compensation. There are two ex-officio seats on the Board of Trustees: the president of the Alumni Advisory Board and the president of the Berwick Parent Community (BPC). The Board of Trustees at Berwick, as is the case with similar nonprofit institutions, has three fundamental roles: 1) To ensure that the mission of the school is being delivered and supported fully; 2) To protect and support the long-term financial viability of the school; 3) To hire and evaluate the Board’s singular employee, the Head of School. No individual Board member is invested with authority to act independently; all decisions regarding policy are voted on by the Board as a whole.
The Berwick Board consists of two major committees to which each Board member is assigned. These two committees are the Mission, Innovation, and Policy Committee and the Financial Affairs Committee. The Board also has an Audit Committee, Committee on Trustees as well as an Executive Committee. The Mission, Innovation, and Policy Committee is charged with ensuring that the School is meeting its mission and that it has the support to innovate within the curriculum in a way that fosters meeting the School’s Vision. This Committee may encompass a number of smaller sub-committees that are created to address timely and important issues at the School. Currently, the Cultural Competency Committee is a sub-committee of Mission, Innovation, and Policy. The Financial Affairs Committee is tasked with ensuring that the School is fiscally healthy and that it is utilizing resources in the most prudent and effective manner. This committee coordinates the activities of its four sub-committees; the Investment Committee, the Advancement Committee, the Buildings and Grounds Committee, and the Finance Committee.
Fundamentally, the Board operates collaboratively in the realm of strategy and policy, while the Head of School is responsible for the day to day operations of the Academy. Trustees offer their time, talent, and treasure to the school based on their commitment to the mission of Berwick Academy. The Committee on Trustees is charged with supporting best practices for non-profit governance, but they also serve the critical function of sustaining the board by considering future candidates for trusteeship. The Board of Trustees is in a constant process of linking needs from its Long Range Plan with potential talents of members of the Berwick community. Occasionally non-trustee community members also serve on Board sub-committees or task forces. In addition to helping to cultivate future trustees, the Committee on Trustees serves as the nexus for both the annual evaluation process for the Head of School as well as a sophisticated trustee evaluation process that provides feedback to individual trustees as well as the group as a whole.
Each fall, the Board offers a presentation on finances and governance practices to new families, but they are always willing to help educate any Berwick community member on the role of the trustees. Families are always welcome to contact Head of School Jim Hamilton directly with questions, or they may reach out to Susan Noerdlinger, who currently serves as the chair of the Committee on Trustees. The Committee on Trustees hopes that you find this resource to be a useful educational tool and that it engenders a sense of deep appreciation for what our volunteer trustees give to the Academy. They are truly motivated by the purpose of serving Berwick students – past, present, and future – to the best of their ability.