Last month, AERDF CEO Stacey Childress shared an update with our growing community of friends that recommendations were being sought for talented leaders across the country who would make great candidates for membership on our board of directors. A big part of this news was an announcement that three current board members, who represented AERDF’s anchor donors, were stepping back from their involvement and the board was filling those seats and adding three new seats. We had a sit down with Stacey to let you in on more of the plans for the board and desired characteristics we hope to find in new board members. Our ask? Take a quick read through and share with 3 people in your network who might make great board candidates themselves or be connected to other leaders who are!
Q: Let’s jump right into it. Why turn to the public for recommendations of leaders for AERDF to consider for its board?
Stacey: From the beginning, we envisioned a process where our board would transition from a donor heavy group to independent members who could bring a broad range of perspectives and skills to help guide the organization in these early stages. Independent governance is important to our long-term success, and we believe strongly in collaboration with practitioners and thought leaders in the education field — hence, our call for recommendations.
Q: This process could lead to recommendations of leaders with quite a range of backgrounds and areas of experience and expertise –what is AERDF looking for in its next board members?
Stacey: Great question. We’re looking for board members who are thoughtful and collaborative and who like to think big and debate different approaches to difficult challenges facing education. Folks who also have a clear, demonstrated commitment and track record of results in their professional and/or personal lives that aligns with AERDF’s mission and goals. We’re committed to a diverse board in terms of race and ethnicity, gender, generation, background and experience, political affiliation, and geography within the U.S. We value experience in classrooms, schools, or communities, especially folks who work directly with students, educators, and families; expertise in research and learning science; understanding of education policy; and a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Q: What does the board do?
Stacey: Our approach to governance prioritizes decentralized decision-making about programs, projects, and grants to AERDF’s full-time team. So our board advises on big-picture strategy in alignment with our mission and works with our executive team to ensure we have the resources, policies, talent, and relationships to execute well.
Q: Why is it so important that the board reflect the diversity of our priority students?
Stacey: AERDF aims to tackle persistent teaching and learning challenges that disproportionately affect Black and Latino students and students of all races experiencing poverty. We need the leadership of people who understand the lived experiences of those students.
For more information, including the timelines for consideration and a more complete description of roles and responsibilities, visit the board recommendations page on our website.
Please take a moment to share this recommendation within your network to those you might make great board candidates themselves or are connected to other leaders who are!