Structure: a system of shared governance
Seek the real practical life, but seek it in a way that does not blind you to the spirit working in it … Make use of the ancient principle: Spirit is never without matter, matter never without spirit.
– Rudolf Steiner
At Michael Mount, as at Waldorf schools around the world, we do not have a hierarchical structure and there is no Principal. The school is governed through a system of shared governance in which three governing entities assume distinct responsibilities and strive for consensus on major policies decisions. In this system all participants stand as equals, working cooperatively towards a shared ideal.
The College of Teachers
The Waldorf approach to governance is unique in that the school is formally guided by the College of Teachers. College is composed of 14 teachers from different areas in the school. They meet once a week to make decisions with regard to the school’s pedagogical policy, curriculum development, professional development and support of staff, hiring of teachers, fostering parent and community education, and student admissions. There is no hierarchy of authority and the good of the school is the overriding consideration at all times. Decision-making is by consensus so that, although everyone may not agree on a certain point, the process has allowed each person to make his or her best effort to find the truth and each person is satisfied with the decision.
Council of Management
This body is composed of parents, administrative staff and teachers. Council is responsible for the legal and financial wellbeing of the school. The council is composed of chairperson, vice chairperson, secretary, elected members from the parent body, administrative staff and teachers. The responsibility of the Council is to make possible, physically and financially, the educational work of the school and to ensure its long-term viability. Parents who are elected onto Council bring a considerable range of skills to the task of funding and building our school.
All parents are encouraged to participate through various parent committees, to assist in caring for specific needs of the school, such as festivals, fundraising and landscaping. Committees meet and report their proposals, issues and activities to the Council.
The third area of governance, Administration, carries out to the day-to-day business of running the school. The school’s Administrator sits on both the College of Teachers and the Council of Management. It is the Administrator’s duty to ensure that the administrative staff carries out the decisions and standing policies of the College and the Council. The administration strives to serve the needs of the teachers, parents and students. The main administrative functions are: Finance, Marketing and Communications, Admissions, Facilities management and Reception.
Rather than a bureaucratic system of organisation, the school is a partnership with individuals who are responsible to each other and to the school.