NAIS Board Committee Structure

The NAIS Board Committee structure was updated by the board in November of 2014.

Roles of the Officers

According to the by-laws, officers are elected by the membership at the annual meeting and serve one three-year term. The officers are chair, vice-chair, treasurer, and secretary, and each officer "shall have the powers and duties normally associated with the office and such other powers and duties as may be designated from time to time by the Board of Trustees.” The board has adopted the practice of the Governance Committee assuming leadership of the board evaluation process and the vice-chair filling that role for the president's evaluation process.
The NAIS By-Laws, Article VIII, Section 3., provide that “The duties and powers of all committees shall be defined by the Board."

Business Committees

These committees are appointed to perform the ongoing, permanent work of the board.
1.  The Equity & Justice Committee is charged with responsibility for equity and justice initiatives on the board and throughout the organization. As custodian of the diversity and multicultural initiatives mandated by the mission statement, the committee’s directives are:
  • To work in a collaborative capacity with staff to foster the principles of equity and justice identified in the mission statement and to ensure that the work of the organization is measured by a template of equity and inclusivity.
  • To contribute topics and ideas for continued board growth and development in this area.
2.  The Executive Committee is primarily charged with the planning of the board meetings, and, as provided by the by-laws, is empowered to exercise all powers of the board during the interim between meetings of the board. In addition, the committee is charged with the following specific responsibilities:
  • To address any confidential contractual or personnel matters and to consider and approve the president’s recommendations for executive staff salaries, benefits and vacation or leave policies.
  • To serve as a resource and sounding board for the president on future planning and any matter on which he may seek advice or counsel.
  • To report to the president the results of the annual board evaluation of the president.
  • To oversee the overall functioning of the organization.
  • To carry on the routine business of the board as necessary in between board meetings (via quarterly teleconference meetings, to which all board members are invited to join).
  • To assist the president and the board chair in issue-sorting.
  • To review the agenda of committee work and to set the agenda for the full board, after soliciting input from all board members.
3.  The Finance Committee, together with the audit subcommittee, is responsible for the organization’s continued financial health and stewardship of the resources needed to carry out the mission.  The Finance Committee oversees budget and overall financial strategy.  Specifically, the Finance Committee:
  • Works with management to develop integrated, long-term financial strategy, aligning resources with goals and economic realities.  
  • Monitors financial and economic trends and progress toward strategic financial goals.
  • Reviews and recommends for approval:
    • Changes to member dues.
    • Annual budgets prepared by management.
    • Investments or withdrawals from the Association’s long-term reserve fund.
    • Major financial transactions: e.g., purchase of a company, investment in a new financial venture.
  • Monitors periodic “budget to actual” financial reports.
  • Coordinates the activities of the subcommittees.  Receive reports and provide summary reports to the full board where appropriate. 
The Audit Subcommittee oversees the NAIS annual financial audit process.   Specifically, the Audit Subcommittee:
  • Selects independent accountants to perform the annual audit.
  • Understands the general scope of the audit prior to commencement.
  • Meets with the auditor and reviews the results of the audit, including:
    • Audited financial statements
    • Auditors required communications (“SAS 114 letter”)
    • Management letter, if any
    • IRS form 990.
  • Approves non-audit work to be done by the auditor prior to its commencement.
4.  The Governance Committee is specifically charged with the responsibility preparing the nominations of new trustees and the slate of officers for presentation to the board for a vote. The committee is also responsible for:
  • The leadership of the annual board evaluation process.
  • The assessment of the nomination and election process and, from time to time, to present recommendations to the board for revision of policies or procedures.
  • The initiation of any needed changes to the by-laws.
  • The ongoing education and professional development of the board.

Generative Committees

These committees are appointed to perform the ongoing, permanent work of the board.

6.  The Engagement Committee centers on driving member, as well as other stakeholder, engagement.  This committee’s work gets at the very heart of why membership associations exist and ensures that NAIS is employing the right strategies to keep it relevant to customers. Committee discussions are focused at the 30,000 foot level addressing such items as new research on what drives member engagement, measuring engagement, changing generational attitudes towards joining associations/groups, etc. The committee focuses on desired outcomes and impact rather than tactics to drive engagement.

7.  The Environment Committee scans the environment to identify and discuss industry threats and opportunities. Their work centers on studying political, social, technological, economic, demographic, etc. trends and taking a generative approach to discussing potential scenarios around these trends. This committee provides vision to the organization on future growth areas and ensures that NAIS stays ahead of trends that could harm schools.


Non-Board Appointed Commission

The NAIS Commission on Independent School Accreditation is comprised of representatives from seventeen NAIS member state and regional associations and three international associations that accredit independent schools, two representatives of the NAIS Board, and two “at-large” members. The Commission emerged from a request from the state and regional associations to the NAIS Board to convene a task force on accreditation issues.  The NAIS board gave the following charge to the Commission:
  • Assuring the highest standards for independent school accreditation by articulating principles of good practice for independent school accrediting programs;
  • Developing models of successful accreditation policies and procedures;
  • Engaging in research that will inform accreditation practice;
  • Determining the desirability of and protocol for NAIS ratification of a school’s accreditation; and
  • Promoting, through advocacy efforts, public understanding of and credibility for independent school accrediting programs.

The Commission began work on all these matters at its first meeting February 25-26, 2002 in San Francisco.

Substantive decisions affecting all other Commission matters and all decisions that prescribe actions by member associations go through the following process:
  1. A proposal is submitted to the Commission for consideration. The Commission must agree to consider the proposal by a majority vote of the Commission. The proposal is recorded in the meeting and distributed to all Commissioners and Executive Directors of member accrediting associations.
  2. The Commission discusses the proposal at a subsequent hearing. The proposal may be amended and voted upon. Matters approved by a majority of the Commission will then be referred in the form of a recommendation to the NAIS Board.

The NAIS Board shall either approve and ratify the matter, or remand the matter back to the Commission with suggestions for further consideration.

The Commission is governed by an Operating Protocol, and its work guided by a mission and strategic plan.