Rudolph Steiner’s vision for the way a Waldorf School should be run is that all pedagogical decisions rest with the College of Teachers (often the more experienced teachers). The Board of Management is made up of parents, who participate on a voluntary basis, as well as some teachers, administrative staff and at least one representative of the College. The Board holds the legal and financial responsibility of the school. The College and The Board work together looking at issues from both the pedagogical and legal/financial side and make decisions, taking these viewpoints into account.
This management structure is unique to Waldorf schools. It means that as a parent you can volunteer your time and energy, and participate in making decisions that affect the future of the school. During the history of Imhoff Waldorf School many parents have served on the board and on ad hoc sub-committees (mandated groups) that have been formed to address specific issues. Parents have participated in the decisions that have been made since the inception of the Dragon Tree project. The strength of the school going forward depends on the continued involvement of newer parents, replacing the longer-term parents in these mandated groups and on the Board. If you feel strongly about the future of the school then this is the way to become involved.
Three prominent architects from various backgrounds were interviewed several years ago. The Board and The College agreed that the successful candidate must be an anthroposophical architect because the school is a Waldorf School. This decision was reviewed recently (in the past year) and again the Board and the College came to the same conclusion. One very important consideration for the anthroposophical design is that this design would correspond with the international Waldorf trends. To date this has paid off, as the bulk of funds raised have come from the international Waldorf community. By showing that we are serious about building a purpose-built, anthroposophical Waldorf school, additional funding should come in from this source. Keith Struthers, our architect, is an anthroposophical architect. We foresaw a long and very challenging road ahead where the architect would be carrying the bulk of the responsibility (project management and so on) and again Keith Struthers matched the criteria, having a proven track record. To date he has not faltered in this respect.
Should the leaders who make important financial decisions for the school not be trained or experienced in business principles and systems?
As a school, we are very reliant on the involvement, input and skills of our parent body. The school is structured with sub-committee or mandate groups, mandated by the Board of Management and/or College of Teachers. Each Mandate Group consists of a Board member, College member and Parent representatives. The mandate groups report back to the College of Teachers and Board of Management if necessary.
The Board of Management have always strived to have a balance of “skilled business leadership” coupled with “social leadership skills”.
Our Finance Committee, for example, has always had highly experienced & skilled parent representatives (CA’s, strategic business consultants and successful business entrepreneurs). It is crucial to have these skilled parents provide an objective “big picture view” based on solid business principles. They advise, guide and report to the Board on a monthly basis.
Presently we have skilled professionals on the Move group and Finance committee but need to strengthen these groups further and would welcome any parents with skills in these areas to please come forward to support the school.
The current challenge remains financing the move. Some of the avenues that are in place include pledges and donations from parents, as well as external donations via the pay-it-forward platform. We welcome any new ideas and contributions from our broader communities and networks.