Board of Trustees

List of 6 frequently asked questions.

  • Q What is the role of the Burke's Board of Trustees?

    Like all other NAIS member independent schools and CAIS-accredited independent schools, Burke’s is governed by an independent, self-perpetuating Board of Trustees. The Board determines Burke's mission, strategic goals, and policy positions. The Board also acts as fiduciaries for future generations of Burke’s girls—exercising oversight of the school’s financial health, approving the school’s annual budget, and overseeing the school’s endowment, physical assets, and fundraising. Importantly, the board selects, evaluates and supports the Head of School. The Board does not get involved in the day-to-day affairs of the school, disciplinary or personnel issues, or admissions decisions — which are the responsibility of the Head of School. In short, the trustees act as stewards of the school, while serving as ambassadors of Burke’s mission.

    The Board adheres to the "Principles of Good Practice" established by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). The Principles provide guidelines for the Board to use in carrying out its responsibilities. Burke’s is part of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and is accredited by the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS). We believe it is important for Burke's to actively contribute and learn from the dialog about the future of independent school education. The Board’s activities benefit from the best practices developed and shared by the 1,700-plus member schools of NAIS and are formally reviewed by the regular accreditation process of the CAIS.
  • Q How is the work of the Board carried out?

    There are five standing board committees: Audit/Risk, Advancement, Equity and Inclusion, Finance, Governance. Current subcommittees are Buildings and Grounds, Head Evaluation, and Investment. These committees are comprised of smaller groups of Board members. Committee meetings are held separately from the full Board on a monthly basis and generally work to research and develop recommendations on issues of importance to the school. Board members typically serve on at least two committees. In order to draw on the widest set of expertise and perspectives, many alumnae, parents, past parents, and community members who are non-Board members have been invited to serve on committees. Most committees also include at least one Burke’s staff member who participates as a liaison to the school administration.
    To view a committee organizational chart, click here.

    The full Board meets most months during the school year. These meetings typically include reports from the school administration and from Board committees addressing matters requiring the Board's attention. Periodically, outside speakers make presentations on key topics such as diversity, fundraising, and developments in independent school education.
  • Q Who serves on the Board and how is it composed?

    Members of the Board have included current parents, alumnae, past parents, educators, and community leaders. The Head of School, the President of the Parents’ Association, and the President of the Alumnae Board serve as non-voting members. Following the NAIS Principles, the Board strives for a composition that "reflects the strategic expertise, resources, and perspectives needed to achieve the mission and strategic objectives of the school."

    Burke’s is blessed to have an enormous surplus of community members who could all serve robustly as trustees. The Governance Committee of the Board determines which mix of skill sets and outside experiences may be needed for incoming board members based on the School’s strategic needs and goals. The committee also looks at the skills and experiences of departing Trustees and tries to maintain a balance of skills and perspectives from one year to another. Once the Board’s current needs are identified, the Governance Committee examines the alumnae, parent, past parent, and grandparent population as well as educators and community leaders from outside the Burke’s community to determine the right mix of time, wisdom, and skills currently needed to help steward Burke’s as a Trustee. Trustees are also expected to play leadership roles in our annual and capital fundraising. Trustees serve staggered three-year terms, which may be renewed. The Board's bylaws allow for up to 27 voting members.

    A complete list of the current Board of Trustees can be found in the Board of Trustees section of the Burke’s website along with individual photos, biographies and committees served.
  • Q How do the Board and the Head of school coordinate their work?

    The Board creates the school's strategic plan, but the Head of School is responsible for overseeing its implementation. The Head also works in partnership with the Board to establish and refine the school’s mission and articulate that mission to students, faculty and staff, parents, alumnae, and the community. The Head alone is responsible for collaborating with faculty and staff to develop and maintain the academic programs that fulfill the school's mission. The Head deals directly with parent needs and concerns and is also responsible for the management of the School’s regular operations.
  • Q How is the Board different from the Parents’ Association?

    All Burke’s parents are members of the Parents’ Association, which serves as a leadership group, vital communication avenue, and fundraising body for our school. The P.A. President serves as a non-voting member of the Board of Trustees, working closely with the Head of School and Board to accomplish its goals in a way that enhances the lives of Burke’s families and supports the goals and needs of the school.

    While most of the Board’s work will impact Burke’s five, 10 or 50 years from now, the P.A. has a much greater day-to-day impact and provides many opportunities for all families to get involved with Burke’s. Parents organize and staff our wonderful Family Festival and Burke's Benefit, volunteer in the lunchroom and art classes, sell Burke’s items and used uniforms, organize speakers and hospitality events, support our teachers as room parents, and provide service learning opportunities for our girls through Burke’s Community Connections.
  • Q When can parents expect to hear from the Board?

    We will use News from the Board under the Trustee section of the Burke’s website to house updates that have been distributed to the community electronically. Throughout the year, parents can expect to receive periodic communication from the Board President detailing significant school developments and pertinent news. In addition, members of the board regularly present at Parents' Association meetings and other events.
Burke's mission is to educate, encourage and empower girls. Our school combines academic excellence with an appreciation for childhood so that students thrive as learners, develop a strong sense of self, contribute to community, and fulfill their potential, now and throughout life.


An independent K–8 school for girls
7070 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94121
Phone: 415.751.0177 Fax: 415.666.0535
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