What is Governance?

Welcome to the Jacksonville Jewish Center VP of Education Blog.  As Vice President of Education, I felt compelled to communicate with the community within and outside of our synagogue and schools using the tools we are expecting our teachers and students to use.  I am excited to say that this is my first experience with blogging.

The topic of discussion, governance, is a topic not understood by many.  Wikipedia defines governance as, ” the activity of governing. It relates to decisions that define expectations, grant power, or verify performance. It consists either of a separate process or of a specific part of management or leadership processes.”

As VP of Education, it is my job to lead the governance of the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School, the Bernard and Alice Selevan Religious School, the Jacksonville Jewish Center Preschool and the Makom Hebrew High School program.

The Religious School,  Preschool, and Makom Hebrew High School program are governed by the Congregational Education Community.  The Day School is governed by the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School Education Community. You will note the word “committee” has been replaced with “community” in an effort to be consistent with a “Community of Connection” vision being developed by the Jacksonville Jewish Center.

All Education Community members are selected by a committee consisting of the VP of Education, the Center’s President, Executive VP,  Director of Finance and Operations, with input from each schools’ administrations.  Members  are comprised of a cross-section of parents and synagogue members who have demonstrated involvement and interest in the education of our children.

The Education communities’ duties include general oversight and setting broad policy, developing and implementing a long-range strategic plan, fiscal oversight (including overall fundraising strategy and budgeting), and being “ambassadors” to the community.

The VP of Education and the members of the Education communities will establish goals for the year. These goals will be realized through the Principals’/head of school’s participation in monthly Education community meetings resulting in collaboration with the staff of the schools and through sub-committee work and projects.

All Congregational Education Community and Martin J. Gottlieb Day School Education Community policy must be approved by the Board of directors of the Jacksonville Jewish Center.

Last week, the MJGDS Education Community and the Congregation Education Community had their first meetings.  Both meetings began with a review of the roles and responsibilities of being a community member.  You can find a listing of the roles and responsibilities as well as a list of community members in the pages section of the blog.

Each Head of School/Principal gave a summary of their preparations for the upcoming school year.  Some highlights from those reports are:

JJC Preschool:

  • 87 students enrolled
  • 5 new teachers, 1 Shalom Baby teacher, & 1 new Kids’ Club coordinator
  • Is incorporating Love and Logic in the Classroom, a behavior management training for teachers
  • Is up for FCIS/FKC re-accreditation this year

Bernard and Alice Selevan Religious School:

  • registration has begun
  • projecting 88 students
  • Is incorporating the ETGAR program for  6-8th graders (Staff trained via webinar)
  • 8th grade program is expanding to 5 hours per week.  They will be meeting on       Wednesdays and Saturdays.


  • 124 students enrolled
  • Curriculum 21, by Heidi Hayes Jacobs, was read by all of the teachers over the      summer.  The ideas presented in this book are organizing the structure of the         school.
  • Twenty first century learning:
  • will help our students be best prepared for high school
  • emphasizes second language acquisition and global citizenship, 2 core concepts central to Day School Education
  • MJGDS is on the cutting edge of 21st Century learning in the Jacksonville community.

Makom Hebrew High:

  • registration has begun
  • classes begin Wednesday, October 6, 2010
  • project 45 9th-11th grade students and 11 12th grade students
  • save the date, Wed March 9, 2011 for the Makom Artist Series                                     highlighting our high school students’ talents

The members of both Education Communities signed covenants of trust.  These covenants can be found in the pages section of the blog.

At each meeting, the sub-committee structure was introduced.  Sub-committees are a way for individuals outside of the education communities to get involved in an area they are passionate about or have some expertise.  Volunteering to participate on a subcommittee is not a guarantee that a person will be accepted.  However, if a person is interested in getting involved, there are many opportunities to do so beyond sitting on a sub-committee.  A general description of the tasks of the sub-committees can be found in the pages section of the blog.

The standing sub-committees of the MJGDS Education Community are:

  • Development/Fundraising/Scholarship
  • Head Support/Evaluation
  • Marketing/Admissions/Public Relations
  • Finance/Budget

The standing sub-committees of the Congregational Education Community are:

  • Fundraising
  • Principal Support/Evaluation

Another topic discussed at both of the education community meetings was the L’Dor V Dor Society (LDVDS).  The LDVDS is an annual campaign designed to supplement the budgets of the Jacksonville Jewish Center Preschool, the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School, and the Bernard and Alice Selevan Religious School.  Contributions to the LDVDS will advance our schools’ abilities to ensure the highest quality Jewish and secular education for  all children of this generation and for future generations.  Some quick facts about the LDVDS can be found in the pages section of the blog.

Lastly, I would like to share two motions approved by the MJGDS Education Community.

  1. Birthdays may be celebrated by bringing into school kosher approved foods.
  2. Jon Mitzmacher, Head of School, is able to change the language of the Code of  Conduct for the lower school to more appropriate language for that age group.

We are off to a great start.  I look forward to sharing information on governance of all of the Jacksonville Jewish Center Schools.  I welcome your feedback.

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One Response to What is Governance?

  1. Andrea Hernandez says:

    It is wonderful that the Education communities are embracing transparency and that you are modeling 21st century communication via a blog. You have compiled so much information here, and it is very interesting. Thank you for putting so much time and energy into the governance of our schools.

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