A System of Shared Governance

The system of shared governance at San Francisco Waldorf School reflects the school’s commitment to collaboration and thoughtful consideration. It is a unique and dynamic model that is being strengthened as we grow and evolve, with many thanks to a dedicated community of parents, faculty, and staff.

The school itself came into being formally and legally in 1979 with the creation of the San Francisco Waldorf School Association. This is our nonprofit educational corporation, registered with the State of California, with a mission to provide Waldorf education to students in the San Francisco Bay Area. All parents and guardians at SFWS are automatically members of the Association.

As a California nonprofit association, we have a volunteer Board of Trustees. The Board is guided by a set of by-laws and empowered with the authority to set legal, fiscal, and strategic policies to ensure the long-term structural health of our school. Trustee duties include approving the budget, setting tuition, and overseeing capital campaigns; work is done largely in Board committees. Our able and dedicated Board of Trustees includes current parents, alumni parents, faculty, and friends of the school who have demonstrated an understanding for and commitment to the aims of Waldorf education.

In accordance with the school’s by-laws, the Board delegates the authority for instructional theory and practice -- the pedagogical life of the school -- to the College of Teachers.  This authority includes decisions about educational programs, curricula review, student life, teacher development, and anthroposophical study, among other things. The College also works to strengthen connections with Waldorf educational institutions worldwide.  In broadest terms, the College is responsible for the education of the students and the educational vision of our school. It’s an entity that sets our school apart, giving teachers the ability to make decisions that benefit students.

Since our school has several campuses with different needs, the College of Teachers established separate Grade School and High School Steering Committees to administer work within the pedagogical area. These committees are responsible for admission and retention of students as well as faculty hiring, evaluation, and support. The committees are headed by a Grade School Chair and a High School Chair. The Chairs serve as the primary point of contact for parents who have classroom-related questions or concerns that cannot be addressed by individual teachers.

The Board of Trustees delegates the day-to-day management of the school to the Administrative Director. The director implements policies set by the Board of Trustees (and holds an ex-officio position on the Board), and provides support to the College of Teachers when administrative and pedagogical issues overlap. The director also serves as a senior spokesperson for the school, manages community affairs, and oversees the school’s business and administrative operations and staff.

The school’s Administrative Staff includes the Director of Finance and Strategic Planning. This individual manages the Business Office and operations, including matters of finance, human resources, long term planning, information systems and facilities. The Advancement Director oversees the Advancement staff, focusing on fundraising and community engagement.Day-to-day operations on each campus are delegated to Administrative Coordinators. The Administrative Director oversees Enrollment Directors at the Grade School and the High School. 

An Administrative Council brings together representatives from the College of Teachers and the Administration into a central entity. The Council serves as a central leadership team, working to ensure that decisions are made in a timely way and that those decisions are communicated clearly to the community. The Council is also responsible for making the final budget recommendations to the Board of Trustees Finance Committee.