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The following groups play key roles in the Toronto Waldorf School community:
Board of Directors
The Board of Directors is a self-selecting body composed of parents, teachers and friends of TWS. Members are selected based on their demonstrated commitment to TWS and their professional expertise. Additionally, the TWS bylaws name both the Faculty Chair and the Administrative Director as voting ex-officio Directors. Although we have no bylaw governing the number of teachers who serve on the Board, it is deemed helpful to have one or two faculty members in addition to the Faculty Chair and Administrative Director.
The Board of Directors is responsible for the short and long-term strategic advancement of the mission, vision and values of Toronto Waldorf School.
The Board is responsible for:
- establishing policies that are consistent with the school’s mission, vision and values
- for the fiscal and legal stability of the school
- for meeting requirements of governmental agencies and accrediting bodies
- hiring the Administrative Director and reviewing his/her performance yearly
- setting goals annually with the Circle of Chairs (CoC) through the Faculty Chair and Administrative Director
- receiving CoC reports at Board meetings
- maintaining regular contact with the management of the school through the Board Executive
View our bylaws
See the current Toronto Waldorf School Board of Directors
Members of the Corporation
The Board is accountable to the Members of the Corporation. Members of the Corporation in a non-profit organization are what shareholders are to a for-profit corporation. We have about 70 members of our corporation. Past Board members and founding faculty are automatically Members. In addition, over the years, faculty and staff, parents, and alumni/ae have been made Members of the Corporation based on their long service and demonstrated commitment to TWS and Waldorf education.
Circle of Chairs
The Circle of Chairs has the primary responsibility and authority to guide the consultative process of setting direction for the school then ensuring that the direction is carried out so that the goals and mission of TWS are achieved and the on-going health and functioning of the entire school is sustained. We strive to work out of a model of servant leadership as we balance the needs of students, teachers, staff, parent community, alumni/ae and our broader community. The Circle of Chairs is accountable both to the full Faculty & Staff and to the Board. View Circle of Chairs Blog
Circle of Chairs Responsibilities:
- Ensuring that our Waldorf program is of high quality and consistent with our commitments to our students and their parents
- Facilitating communication between the work of individual faculties
- Establishing and maintaining regular processes of review for all staff members and programs
- Overseeing decisions involving student suspension and expulsion
- Overseeing staffing and job assignment processes and decisions
- Overseeing process involving employee disciplinary procedures and termination of employment
- Managing the administration of the school by overseeing the administrative work carried by the Faculty and Staff, including both delegating on-going work and/or short-term projects to task groups or to individuals
- Overseeing policy development when needed
- Making decisions where no policy exists and it is deemed unnecessary for the nature of the business
- Reviewing the proposed budget before it is recommended to the Board
- Tracking budget through quarterly financial statements and monitoring of individual budget lines
- Approving professional development funding
- Ensuring that accreditation standards and renewal schedules from our three accrediting bodies are maintained
- Interfacing with accrediting bodies and government agencies to ensure appropriate compliance and standards are met
- Leading, in collaboration with the BoD Executive, the development and implementation of strategic and long range plans
- Maintaining regular contact (at least bi-weekly) with the Executive Committee of the BoD
- Maintaining regular contact with the Parent Circle through the Parent Steering Committee
- Facilitating open channels of communication between the school and the parent body
- Leading the process of setting the annual calendar
- Engaging in conflict resolution when unresolved difficulties encountered by parents, teachers or administrative staff are brought to the Circle for resolution
CoC Scope of Authority
In its role as the management and leadership team of TWS the CoC has authority and responsibility over all the activities at TWS, and as such may intervene and/or halt any activity in the school involving staff, parents, children, community members, renters and visitors that the Circle deems inappropriate, illegal, or harmful to the mission of the school.
The CoC is empowered to delegate any of its authority to groups or individuals within the school as is appropriate for the effective management of the school. Groups may be asked to make decisions, or to make recommendations to the Circle who will make the final decision. In delegating this authority, the CoC also has the responsibility to intervene or roll back any delegated authority when:
- a situation arises where the skills and the capabilities of the groups/individuals is determined to be different than what the situation requires
- when existing policies/procedures/practices are not sufficient for the situation
- a conflict of interest arises
In areas pertaining to the Board's overall authority, the Circle of Chairs is delegated the responsibility to carry out these duties and is accountable to the Board. The Board may reclaim its authority in those areas pertaining to its responsibility as the BOD deems appropriate.
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The membership of the Circle of Chairs (CoC) includes the full-time Faculty Chair, the Early Childhood, Lower School, and High School Chairs and the Administrative Director.
The Faculty Chair is hired, based on a set of ideal qualifications and skill sets, with input from the full Faculty and Staff. The Faculty Chair does not have a term, but rather is hired into the position, and reviewed bi-annually.
The Faculty Chair works in close collaboration with the Administrative Director to lead the CoC, Faculty and Staff in giving shape to and carrying a picture of the whole school, knowing both the long range strategic plans and the shorter term needs of the whole organization, and from this vantage point, make decisions that are in the best interest of the whole school.
The Chairs of Early Childhood, Lower School and High School are chosen by each individual Faculty and normally have a term of three years. The Individual Faculty Chairs (IFC) operate out of the same servant leadership model as the FC for the purpose of empowering the individual members and groups within her/his faculty to use their strengths in fulfilling the mission of the school, and to encourage high levels of collaboration among each other, teachers from their faculties, administration, parents and the school leadership.
In general, the role of the Individual Faculty Chair has 3 important spheres of responsibility:
- the work with their individual faculty
- their role as a member of the Circle
- fostering a strong collaborative relationship between their faculty, the other faculties, the administration and the CoC
The Administrative Director is hired by the Board of Directors in close consultation with the full faculty, staff and the Circle of Chairs. The Administrative Director serves as a member of the Circle of Chairs, and provides leadership to all the non-teaching activity in the school. The Administrative Director works in close collaboration with the Faculty Chair and the Board Executive to lead the CoC, Faculty and Staff in giving shape to and carrying a picture of the whole school, and from this vantage point, make decisions that are in the best interest of the whole school.
View Circle of Chairs Blog
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EC, LS and HS Executive Committees
In an attempt to support the work of the IFC and to streamline the business of each individual faculty meeting and facilitate the focus of the meeting on artistic, pedagogical and developmental activities, faculties may form an Executive Committee. It is understood that, in order to work effectively, the Executive Committee needs to have the mandate of all members of the individual faculty in order to conduct its work most effectively. The following guidelines are suggestions on how an executive may be formed and given a mandate to have decision making authority on behalf of a faculty.
An Executive Committee must have the IFC as the Chair of the committee. It is suggested that membership include at minimum the individual faculty administrator and one other member selected from the faculty.
The mandate and scope of authority need to be clearly spelled out in the minutes of the individual faculty meeting before any decisions can be made by the IF Executive Committee. This work may include:
- to act as a support to the IFC
- to maintain an overview of all aspects of their faculty business
- to handle confidential and sensitive information and decisions resulting from this information
- to preview and prepare the agenda for the weekly faculty meeting
- to review and follow-up on decisions and action items from the previous week's meeting
- to act as an authoritative body within their faculty, with the clear mandate to make decisions, speak for and represent the best interests of the high school
- to conduct an annual review of its work
Faculty & Staff
The three faculties along with the administrative staff form the full Faculty. The Faculty meets weekly. The meeting is chaired by the Faculty Chair. The faculty engages in curriculum coordination, pedagogical and child study, professional development, as well as being updated and consulted on school wide business where appropriate. The Faculty also selects the Faculty Chair. It is the role of the members of the full faculty and staff to actively support and engage in the organizational model, and empower the roles of leadership found within it. The leaders can only take on their responsibilities with the active support of the full faculty and staff.
See the current Toronto Waldorf School Faculty and Staff here.
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The faculty is divided into three groups: Early Childhood (EC), Lower School (LS) and High School (HS). Each faculty is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the educational program, including child, curriculum and pedagogical study, appointing mentors for new teachers, hiring teachers within their program, recommending policies to the CoC that promote a stronger pedagogical program. Individual faculties made up of all teachers who teach in their programs meet each week.
The school’s administrative staff, overseen by the school’s Administrative Director, performs a wide range of administrative and business tasks. Administrative work is guided by policies that have been established by the Board and CoC or as required by federal, provincial or local law. Professional administrators include the Business Manager, Finance Coordinators, Development Director, Development Coordinator, Admissions Coordinator, Marketing Coordinator, Facilities Manager, Custodian, High School and Lower School Administrators, Receptionist, Greeters and Maintenance/Security personnel. Their roles all include providing leadership and coordination and accomplishing designated tasks in their areas. They also attend, support, and advance the work of BoD, CoC and administrative committees. The administrative staff has written job descriptions that are periodically reviewed by the Administrative Director. The administrative staff carries out school policies and procedures, day-to-day management, record keeping and school-wide communication. Primary school publications, such as the brochure, course catalogues, annual report, handbooks, and school newsletters are created, distributed and updated by the administrative staff. Together, they support the faculty and the educational programs of the school. The administrative staff meets bi-weekly as a whole group of full-time staff.
The Parent Circle is comprised of a Parent Representative from each class (three Kindergarten classes to Grade 12). This is a different role from the class parents.
The Parent Circle Representative is selected by parents in each class to serve a one year term. Selection preferably takes place in spring to serve over the summer and following school year.
The Parent Circle creates a positive environment for parental involvement in the governance of the school through collaboration with the Circle of Chairs and Board of Directors. The mandate of the Parent Circle is to promote parent participation in school life, build a trusting relationship between parents and the school, work collaboratively so that everyone feels respected and facilitate positive, constructive communication within the school organization.
The full Parent Circle meets quarterly, or more frequently if agreed. Parent Circle Representatives are accountable to the parents in the class they represent to bring forward their views appropriately.
More on Parent Circle
The mandate of the Alumni/ae Association is to:
- provide a means by which former students of Toronto Waldorf School can get in touch with each other and build a strong alumni and alumnae community
- facilitate a vibrant, supportive interaction between TWS and every alumna and alumnus
- organize support of the school and its current students by former students
- inform former students about their Waldorf education
- inform the school community about the alumni and alumnae experience after graduation
- the Alumni/ae work is led by an Alumni/ae Coordinator, a paid part-time position that reports to the Development Director and is an extended member of the TWS Administrative Staff
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