Trustees Meet to Discuss School’s Future
by Iladro Sauls on Friday, October 25th, 2013
On October 5th, Milton Academy began its annual fall Trustees’ Weekend. The event provided the time for Milton’s Board of Directors to plan and prepare for the year ahead.
Milton’s Board of Trustees is charged with defining the long-term interests and future strategy for the school. Their multifaceted realm of responsibility also includes budgeting responsibilities and the organization and execution of fundraising efforts. The leadership considers capital campaigning, which supports the financial needs of Milton’s students, a relevant issue. The Board engages members across the Milton Community by facilitating discussion between faculty, students, and alumni, and Trustees’ Weekend is a vital aspect of the entire process.
The select group of trustees is comprised of individuals with varying relations to the school, including alumni and parents—of both former and current students. All members have ranging areas of expertise, yet all bring unique insight to the Milton community.
Bradley Bloom, the current President of the Board of Trustees, was elected in 2004, chosen to assume his leadership position at the beginning of 2009. Though Mr. Bloom did not attend Milton, his son and daughter are both recent graduates. Mr. Bloom reflects, in the penultimate year of his term, that his time on the Board of Trustees has been a “very fulfilling experience.”
Bloom has become an iconic figure in the Milton community and in the development of the school in the past five years during his tenure as president. His most notable accomplishment was approving the decision, only a short time after his election, to recruit a particular individual to lead Milton’s administration: a bowtie-wearing Headmaster from the Seven Hills School in Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, headmaster Todd Bland and Mr. Bloom have worked closely, strategically planning and prioritizing issues pertinent to Milton’s future.
Mr. Bland and Mr. Bloom led the administration and Board of Trustees and communicated effectively during the fall Trustee’s Weekend. This weekend included luncheons, class visits, and a dinner for the Trustees, members of Milton Faculty who have served over twenty-five years, and members of the administration in both K-8 and Upper School divisions. This fall’s gathering is one of three annual opportunities for members of the administration to meet face to face with the Board of Trustees in its entirety.
In particular, the Fall Trustees’ event was important because it allowed new Board members to come up to speed on plans of the group and orient themselves within the Trustee system. As each Trustee belongs to two to three committees, the first assembly of the Board for the school year provided new Board members an opportunity to connect with their respective committees. It also allowed the administration and returning members of the Board to prepare a briefing packet for new Trustees in order to bring everyone up to speed and maximize the efficient use of time.
Recent undertakings include the creation of new committees, such as the Technology committee, chaired by Trustee Eric Tseng ’97, the Hong Kong Distinguished Speaker last year. In addition, as Mr. Bland explains, this Trustees’ Weekend activities was dedicated to the continual development of a new, strategic plan set forth by Milton’s administration and Trustees.
This plan, according to its description on the school’s website, will lead to “opportunities to use off-campus resources to enrich the classroom education,” among numerous other changes, which include reviews of scheduling and revised affective education curriculums.
“Life at Milton should be going well [for students]” says Mr. Bland. “If not, it must be addressed.” Trustees’ Weekends are prime opportunities for the leaders of the Milton community to consider such changes. Mr. Bloom insists that “any institution must have a group of people who are dedicated to the institution.” He hopes students and faculty look upon the Trustees as a group that look beyond short-term expectations. Bloom explains their purpose is “to ensure the ongoing management of the school is done in a manner consistent with the values of Milton.”
While the Board of Trustees is not as involved in the day-to-day activities of Milton, the group feels it is necessary to remain connected to the school and the pursuit of its improvement. Whether it is by attending classes or sporting events, Mr. Bloom explains that the Board of Trustees wants to “be visible in the school’s community.”
Mr. Bland adds to this point by stating that administration and the Board of Trustees will consider the integration of trustee-student luncheons, a topic to be discussed in the winter Trustees’ Weekend agenda. The goal of these outlets is to improve communication and understanding between the two groups. Mr. Bloom hopes that, whether big or small, the changes that the trustees implement at Milton will add up to create a better overall environment for members of the Milton community to thrive in.
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