Collaboration for Innovation and Improvement

by Phil Gore, PhD, Division Director of Leadership Team Services

XG-participantseXceptional Governance (XG) does not occur in isolation. Governance teams have to work well with administrative and instructional teams for sustained improvement in student learning. Learning together and making decisions collaboratively catalyzes sustainable improvement in student performance.

Stephen M. R. Covey, author of The Speed of Trust, showed that innovation and improvement happen through a culture of trust. Covey says, “The first job of any leader is to inspire trust.” He explains that trust stems from a strong foundation in two dimensions—competence and character. When board-superintendent teams meet with administrative teams to learn together and share knowledge, trust improves among the governance and administrative leaders in the district, allowing for more effective collaboration.

We are learning through the XG Project that governance teams operating in isolation from administrative teams do not produce innovation or encourage improved student learning. Administrators who hear and consider the concerns and vision of the board are able to lead sustained improvement initiatives. When board members better understand perspectives and expertise of the administrative team, they are positioned to support and monitor the effectiveness of learning initiatives.

Student-Learning-Governance-PyramidImproving student achievement is not a solo endeavor and requires collaboration with mutual support and understanding of the strategic and tactical responsibilities of each group. TASB is supporting strong, highly-capable district governance teams. At the same time, we recognize that a strong and capable governance team is not enough to drive improvement in learning and teaching; that also requires a highly effective and collaborative administrative team. Boards that govern effectively inspire exceptional administration that improves instruction.

Improvement in student learning hinges upon a foundation of eXceptional Governance, and XG requires a collaborative mindset toward the administrative team that acknowledges boards cannot do it alone. When board members and administrators learn together, operate in their respective roles, and commit to the mutual purpose of continuous improvement in student learning, student learning improves.

For more information on eXceptional Governance and how your board can benefit, visit or e-mail

This bulletin, produced by TASB Leadership Team Services, examines research and shares philosophies to inform and
promote exceptional governance within school boards across Texas.