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The Governance Core


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Table of Contents

Foreword by Frank Pugh Foreword by John Malloy Introduction: Politics, Governance, and System Improvement Unity of Purpose: Driven by a Shared Moral Imperative Politics, Governance, and System Improvement How This Book Is Structured Shift to Positive Drivers Concluding Comments PART I: MINDSETS FOR EFFICACY Chapter 1. Moral Imperative and the Governance Core The Nature of Governance A Fundamental Choice Five Major Themes of Good Governance The Governance Core Concluding Comments Chapter 2. Trustee Governance Mindset Systems Thinking Strategic Focus Deep Learning Manner Concluding Comments Chapter 3. Superintendent Governance Mindset Typical Governance Styles Examples of Purposeful Superintendent Support for Governance What These Superintendents Have in Common Supporting a Trustee Governance Mindset Concluding Comments Chapter 4. Welcoming New Trustees The First 100 Days: What the Board Should Do The First 100 Days: What New Trustees Should Do Concluding Comments PART II: GOVERNING FOR EFFICACY Chapter 5. Governing With Coherence Coherence Coherence Making Coherence in Perspective Distractions and Challenges to Coherence Concluding Comments Chapter 6. Governance Culture Processes That Develop Governance Infrastructure Concluding Comments Chapter 7. The Governance Job: Systems Thinking and Strategic Action Setting Strategic Direction Policy Direction and Approval Stewardship and Support Oversight and Accountability Community Leadership Throughout Concluding Comments Chapter 8. Governance Tools Discussion Meetings Governance Handbooks Board Self-Evaluations Continuing Board Education Concluding Comments PART III: THE CHALLENGES AHEAD Chapter 9. Rising to the Occasion All Rise Appendix I: Template for Creating Board Protocols Appendix II: Three Comparisons of Effective Governance Principles References Index Acknowledgments About the Authors

About the Author

Davis Campbell is the former Executive Director of the California School Boards Association and is Chair of the University of California, Davis, School of Education, Board of Advisors and a Senior Fellow. He also serves as a Trustee on the Stuart Foundation Board of Trustees. Campbell has a deep and broad background in public education. He served for 12 years in the California Department of Education, serving six of those years as Deputy State Superintendent of Public Instruction in charge of all education programs. In 1988, he was appointed Executive Director of the California School Boards Association, serving in that capacity until his retirement in 2001. He also served as an elected trustee on the Yolo County Board of Education. Campbell maintains an active consulting practice in effective governance in education as well as public and nonprofit agencies at both the state and international level. In California, in addition to trainings and workshops with school districts, most recently he conducted numerous workshops with nonprofit organizations as well as training sessions with cities, counties, and special districts. Campbell's international governance work includes board support for the American School of Madrid (15 years), the American School of Barcelona, the American School of Paris, the American Cooperative School, Tunis, Tunisia, the American International School of Egypt, and effective governance workshops in Lisbon, Portugal, and Rome, and Milan, Italy. Michael Fullan, OC, is the former Dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and Professor Emeritus of the University of Toronto. He is co-leader of the New Pedagogies for Deep Learning global initiative. Recognized as a worldwide authority on educational reform, he advises policymakers and local leaders in helping to achieve the moral purpose of all children learning. Michael Fullan received the Order of Canada in December 2012. He holds honorary doctorates from several universities around the world. Fullan is a prolific, award-winning author whose books have been published in many languages. His book Leading in a Culture of Change received the 2002 Book of the Year Award by Learning Forward. Breakthrough (with Peter Hill and Carmel Crevola) won the 2006 Book of the Year Award from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), and Turnaround Leadership in Higher Education (with Geoff Scott) won the Bellwether Book Award in 2009. Change Wars (with Andy Hargreaves) was named the 2009 Book of the Year by Learning Forward, and Professional Capital (with Andy Hargreaves) won the AACTE 2013 Book of the Year and the Grawemeyer Award in Education in 2015. Michael Fullan's latest books are The Principal: Three Keys for Maximizing Impact ; Coherence: The Right Drivers in Action for Schools, Districts, and Systems (with Joanne Quinn); Deep Learning: Engage the Change the World (with Joanne Quinn and Joanne McEachen); Surreal Change: The Real Life of Transforming Public Education (autobiography); and Nuance: Why Some Leaders Succeed and Others Fail. For more information on books, articles, and videos, please go to


The Governance Core is a masterpiece that calls on governing board members to seize the moral high ground, establish a unity of purpose, and pursue governing excellence. The book is insightful, engaging, and filled with real-world examples that illuminate important principles needed for effective governing. The Governance Core is a must-read for new or veteran school board members.

-- Vernon Billy, CEO & Executive Director

Brilliant and utterly compelling! I have sat in boardrooms for 46 years governing education institutions, hospitals, and universities. It's as if Davis Campbell and Michael Fullan were looking over my shoulder! The Governance Core captures the essence of effective governance in complex times. This book challenges us to focus on and achieve a higher moral purpose. Campbell and Fullan move beyond what governance is and explore how great leaders should govern.

-- Dr. Bill Hogarth, Consultant, and former Director of Education

Governance, school boards, and superintendents are on the front line of meeting the challenges facing education in the 21st century. The Governance Core by Davis Campbell and Michael Fullan captures not only the nature of the challenges but also the characteristics of highly successful school board trustees and superintendents working together. The Governance Core goes deeply into the heart of effective governance. Incorporate these ideas, and you will become much more effective as governance leaders-and your students, parents and educators will benefit immensely.

-- Frank Pugh, Past President

A treasure of a book, chock-full of guidance from the strategic to the pragmatic. I will refer to The Governance Core regularly as our board and principal work together in the service of the scholars and families in our school community. Whether you're a district leader or a principal, on a district school board, charter board, or local school council, you will find insights and tools to deepen your understanding and improve your practice of effective governance. Our nation's children deserve no less.

-- Susan Lucas, Co-Chair

Davis Campbell and Michael Fullan do a masterful job of explaining how public school boards and superintendents working well together, with a shared moral imperative, can be a driving force for improvement in student learning as well as for society as a whole. This exquisite new book,

The Governance Core, beautifully explains why this is true and how to achieve it.

-- Leslie DeMersseman, Past President

Simultaneously visionary and pragmatic,

The Governance Core provides a comprehensive, action-oriented blueprint for designing an effective governance system focused squarely on what matters: student learning. Davis Campbell and Michael Fullan demonstrate how the right approach to governance can make the critical difference in achieving learning for all students. This new book is a powerful, persuasive must-read not only for superintendents and school board members but also for all of us in nonprofits and public agencies who share a commitment to students' succeeding in school and beyond.

-- Glen Harvey, Chief Executive Officer
Good governance is a skill, a discipline, and a commitment. Davis Campbell and Michael Fullan reveal new understandings and important lessons about governing public school systems for healthier communities. They make the compelling case that effective governance in these uncertain times is an essential driver for a better democracy. A must-read for all new and veteran board members and superintendents. -- Tony Smith, Former State Superintendent of Education
Davis Campbell and Michael Fullan have provided great insights on the governance core in this inspiring book. I recommend that trustees and superintendents read this book together-and act on the key messages. -- John Malloy, Director of Education

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