Education Nonprofit and Charter School Governance

Effective boards create the conditions for nonprofits and charter schools to succeed — and, more importantly, for the students they serve to succeed. Bellwether partners with board members and executive leaders to help boards understand how to govern effectively and hold their organizations accountable for advancing their mission and supporting student success.

Our Work
Our Impact
Our Team

Our Work

Every education nonprofit, including public charter schools, has a governing board made up of volunteers who bring relevant experience and perspectives to support the organization in achieving its mission. Boards are essential to an organization’s success, and help ensure that nonprofits achieve their mission by holding leaders accountable for impact, providing opportunities for community representation, sharing networks and  resources, and advocating for high quality educational opportunities for all students. 

But it’s neither easy nor instinctive to be a great board member. Most boards need help to understand how to govern well and have a positive impact, and executive leaders need help to work effectively with their boards. Bellwether provides this support by:

Advising and training board members and executive leaders on effective governance in several ways, including:

  • Offering high-quality governance trainings across a city, portfolio, or network
  • Training cohorts of board members, Executive Directors, and leadership staff to build community, connection, and concrete strategies to improve their knowledge of governance best practice
  • Providing governance advice through consulting engagements of 6, 12, or 18 months, through which we work more closely with the executive leaders, board chair, and other board members of an education nonprofit to identify specific and concrete actions they can take to strengthen governance.
  • Including governance content in Bellwether cohort programs for school leaders.

Recruiting and matching board members to boards by:

  • Partnering with local education organizations, businesses, leadership and alumni organizations, and civic networks to building a pipeline of board candidates within a city and matching them to boards that need their experience and perspective
  • Supporting Bellwether clients in finding new board members
  • Supporting Bellwether staff, clients, and partners in joining education boards

Sharing data, insights, and tools on effective governance with the field through:

  • Developing and sharing resources, tools, and templates to support boards in exercising strong oversight in service of student success
  • Partnering with other education organizations to build field consensus on how boards can best support high quality schools

Our Impact

In March 2023, Education Board Partners — which supported 650 boards serving 200,000 students across the country since its founding in 2010 — merged with Bellwether, folding its field-leading governance expertise into our range of offerings in strategic planning and academic strategy. Bellwether now offers integrated support to help executive leaders and boards lead more effectively in service of their mission.

We have helped boards improve their governance by:

  • Adding new board members with relevant skills and experience.
  • Developing a stronger committee structure that moves board work forward effectively and efficiently.
  • Revising or refreshing board expectations and norms to elevate board engagement and hold all board members accountable.
  • Evaluating the school leader to offer clear and helpful feedback and recognition for high performance.
  • Creating an annual board calendar to guide strategic board work.

Our Team


Carrie Chimerine Irvin
Senior Adviser, Strategic Advising



Caitlin Piccirillo-Stosser
Consultant, Strategic Advising

Our Board Governance Tools

Bellwether has created a set of resources for nonprofit and charter leaders to download and use as templates for planning.

Board Priorities

Board Calendar

Board Recruitment Tracker

ED/CEO Succession Planning Template

Board Governance

Partner With Us

We've partnered with a diverse array of equity-focused clients — from large-scale foundations to school districts to nonprofits to mission-driven companies. Let's work together to transform education.

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