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Policy 3: Role of the Trustee, Board Chair





Board of Trustees Palliser School Division


July 2017


 November 2019


February 25, 2020 



Policy Statement:

The role of the Trustee is to contribute to the Board as it carries out its legislated mandate. The oath of office taken by each Trustee when he or she assumes office binds that person to work diligently and faithfully in the cause of public education. A Trustee must first and foremost be concerned with the interests of the Division.

The Board of Trustees is a corporation. The decisions of the Board in a properly constituted meeting are those of the corporation. A trustee who is given corporate authority to act on behalf of the Board may carry out duties individually but only as an agent of the Board. In such cases, the actions of the trustee are those of the Board which is then responsible for them. A trustee acting individually has only the authority and status of any other citizen of the Division.

Board Actions:

This requires that an individual trustee shall in a reasonable manner and to the best of his/her ability;

  1. Take and subscribe to the Oath of Office.
  2. Attend Board meetings and Committee meetings as assigned.
  3. Thoroughly prepare for each Board/Committee meeting by making sure that he/she has read and understood the reports and background materials and is fully aware of all issues to be discussed at the meeting.
  4. Exercise judgement; act with integrity, respect and where applicable confidentiality.
  5. Participate fully and frankly in the deliberations of the discussions of the Board. Be a positive force and independent thinker with a demonstrated interest in the total affairs of the School Division; think, speak and act independently with courage and confidence.
  6. Establish an effective presence and respect the opinions and ideas of the other Trustees.
  7. Recognize that only resolutions of the Board are binding.
  8. Keep the Board and Superintendent informed in a timely manner of all matters coming to his/her attention that might affect the division.
  9. Assist the Superintendent with counsel and advice, giving the benefit of the Trustees’ experience and familiarity with the community. Support the decision of the Board in a professional manner and refrain from making any statements that may give the impression that such a statement reflects the corporate opinion of the Board when it does not.
  10. Vote on all board matters unless there is a conflict of interest.
  11. Become familiar with legislative requirements and division policies and procedures.
  12. Become familiar with the roles and responsibilities of the Superintendent and the Board and be governed accordingly.
  13. Participate in Board/Trustee development so that the quality of leadership and service to the division can be enhanced.
  14. Stay current with respect to the local, provincial, national and international education issues and trends and ensure information is shared with the Board.
  15. Strive to develop a positive learning and working culture within the Board and the division.
  16. Participate fully in the evaluation process for the Board.
  17. Refer governance queries, issues and problems not covered by Board policy to the Board for discussion and decision.
  18. Refer administrative matters to the Superintendent.
  19. Arrange personal contact with staff through the Superintendent, as applicable.
  20. Upon receiving a complaint or an inquiry from a parent, staff member or community member about operations, will refer the parent, staff member or community member back to the teacher, Principal, or Division Office personnel, as applicable, and will inform the Superintendent of this action.
  21. Attend committee meetings or meetings as a Board representative, as assigned, and report to the Board in a timely manner.
  22. When delegated responsibility, will exercise such authority within the defined terms of reference in a responsible and effective way.
  23. Continue to carry out duties with integrity and responsibility during an election period.
  24. Always adhere to the Trustee Code of Conduct.

Scope and Limitations of Superintendent:

The Superintendent shall understand and respect the role of the Trustee.

Information and Monitoring Requirements:

As per the policy on “Monitoring Board of Trustee Performance”

  • Annual evaluation of the Board
  • Annual Trustee self-evaluation


In addition to Board Member responsibilities, the Board Chair is expected to:

  1. Work closely with the Superintendent to develop Board agendas and packages in advance of each meeting.
  2. Maintain the integrity of the Board’s process and represent the Board, when required, to outside parties.
  3. Conduct Board meetings, unless otherwise prescribed by legislation/bylaws.
  4. Serve as an ex-officio member of Board committees, and ensure all other Board members are advised of committee meetings so that they may attend in a non-voting capacity.
  5. Serve as, or designate, the Board representative to the Minister of Education of Alberta.
  6. Ensure the Board and Vice-Chair/Alternate Chairs are informed of current and pending Board issues and processes, and all Trustees have the opportunity to be involved in agenda preparation.
  7. Perform such other duties as determined by the Board.
  8. The Chair is the only Board Member authorized to speak for the Board (beyond simply reporting Board decisions), other than in rare and specifically authorized instances. The Chair represents the Board’s position to outside parties.

Scope and Limitations of Superintendent:
Not applicable 

Information and Monitoring Requirements:
Not applicable

Legal Reference:

Education Act, Section 33, 34, 51, 52 53, 64, 67, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96 

Board Procedures Regulation

Notaries and Commissioners Act, Section 16