Among the many roles of the Board of Trustees, certainly the most important is that of preserving, extending and enriching the vision and mission of the institution. A bedrock principle of the Mill Brook School is the idea that parents are the primary educators of their children. You will find elsewhere on this website a concise explanation of the role of the school in assisting families in the education of their sons (see “Student Life: Why Mill Brook Students Study the Liberal Arts”). I encourage you to look it over many times, contemplate it, let it sink in to your consciousness, and come to appreciate the wisdom contained in this approach to education.
How does the Board contribute to the success of the mission on this fundamental pillar? As a starting point, our families should know that it was a group of parents who identified the need for the Mill Brook School to come into existence. Thus, it can be said that this philosophy of “parents as primary educators” is written into our DNA as an institution.
While the founding of a school is obviously not the calling of each parent, each parent is called to work collegially with the school for the greater good of the child. The Board will regularly inquire of the Head of School exactly how this element of our mission is being imparted to faculty, parents and the wider Mill Brook community. It will not be measured by the frequency with which the parent visits the school nor by the amount of volunteer time the parent contributes (both very good things, by the way!), but rather how much the parent appreciates the importance and the beauty of a learning environment in the home, whether the child is being raised to approach learning with tedium or curiosity, whether the parents are teaching their son to appreciate the achievements and diverse personalities of his peers at school, etc.
It is important as well that parents understand what the phrase “parents as primary educators” does not mean. The school administration – while working closely with and for the parents – is ultimately responsible to the Board of Trustees. It is the Board that holds the Head of School accountable for the performance of the institution, just as it is the Head of School that holds each faculty member accountable for his contribution to that performance. As in any other not-for-profit environment, to preserve order there must be a hierarchy of service that is imposed. By holding fast to this hierarchy out of a spirit of fairness to all interested parties, the Board will be preserving, extending and enriching the mission in accordance with its duties.
And finally, it will always be of fundamental importance to our mission that we have parents serve on Committees and Subcommittees of the Board. This is another outlet for the interest in education that we hope and expect our parents will have. We encourage you to watch for our calls for help in the months to come.