Board Nominations

Nominations Process

A committee appointed by the Board nominates four members of the Society each year for election to the Board of Governors. Society members may also make nominations. The Nominations committee seeks out candidates who are able to bring a diversity of skills and experience to the governance of the school, with a focus on specific qualities and individual ability to help in the execution of the strategic plan and the fulfilment of the school's mission. We endeavour to maintain a board that reflects a balance of expertise and perspectives.

Board Election

The Nominations Committee is charged each year to make a recommendation to the Board and the Society as a whole as to whom we believe to be best suited to fill any upcoming potential Board seats. However, alongside the Nominations Committee’s work, the Society bylaws also allow any member of the Society to put their own name forward, in addition to those names recommended by the Nominations Committee. If this happens, there are more nominees than available Board seats, and an election is held.

Nominations FAQ

Q01. How is the Nominations Committee established?
A

The Bylaws establish the Nominations committee as an autonomous body set up by the Board. Its principal responsibility to the SMUS Society is to ensure that suitably qualified candidates are nominated to fill vacancies on the Board.

Q02. How are candidates for governor nominated?
A

Candidates are nominated in two ways:

A) By the Board appointed Nominations Committee. The SMUS Society Bylaws were drawn up to ensure that sufficient nominees would be available to fill vacancies on the Board of Governors. The Bylaws (Article 5) require institution by the Board of an autonomous Nominations Committee.

B) A Society member or members following the publication of the Nominations Papers.

Q03. Who are the current members of the Nominations Committee?
A

The Committee is appointed by the Board for a one-year term, starting in October each year. For a list of current members, see the Board Committees section of the website.

Q04. How does the Nominations Committee select the candidates?
A

The Nominations Committee is charged each year with the critical task of assessing the composition of the Board in light of vacancies caused by departing Governors, and then selecting suitable candidates for nomination. This is an ongoing task that continuously occupies the Nominations Committee and is undertaken with great diligence and deliberation. As an autonomous body set up by the Board its workings are necessarily confidential and its principal responsibility to the SMUS Society is to ensure that qualified candidates are nominated to fill vacancies on the Board.

The Committee identifies suitably qualified candidates for nomination and approaches them individually to consider serving the school. Not only are the short, medium and long term operational requirements of the School considered, careful assessment is also given to the specific skills and experience necessary in each potential candidate in order to serve the school most effectively as it moves forward with the execution of the Strategic Plan to fulfil the Mission of the school.

Candidates are considered who are willing and able to volunteer their expertise, time, energy and resources to the school, who are strategic thinkers, who are fully engaged with the school (or who will become so engaged) and whose maturity, expertise and wisdom will contribute significantly to the effective governance of the school.

The Nominating Committee also considers the diversity of representation on the Board with regard to many factors such as multi-disciplinary backgrounds, gender, alumni, and parents, both day and boarding .

Q05. Why does the Nominations Committee select and recommend a slate of candidates?
A

The Nominations Committee looks to the composition of all its nominated candidates to achieve the desired balance in terms of experience, skill and diversity required on the Board. Prospective candidates together form a slate that the Nominations Committee recommends to the Society and suggests that the entire group be evaluated on their combined ability to fill the governance requirements of the School. The Nominations Committee does not recommend one candidate over another on the slate; all are recommended equally.

Q06. When are nominations of candidates by Society members due and what is the procedure?
A

Approximately six months before an Annual General Meeting, the Nominations Committee distributes Nominations Papers to all Society members outlining the number of candidates needed to fill vacancies on the Board of Governors, together with the Committee’s list of nominated candidates to fill these vacancies. The Nomination Papers give full details and deadlines, together with a nomination form, so that if Society members wish to nominate additional candidates, they may do so at that time.

Q07. Is there an annual election of governors?
A

In a typical year the positions of four governors come up for election as Governors are elected to a three-year term and there are 12 elected governors. If the number of nominees does not exceed the vacant Governor positions by the nomination deadline, the election is by acclamation, otherwise an election is held by an online ballot.

Q08. What is the length of term of a governor and how many terms may a governor serve?
A

Governors are elected to a three-year term and may be re-elected for a maximum of three consecutive terms, with the exception of the chair who may be re-elected for four consecutive three-year terms.

Q09. What are the expectations of governors?
A

Governors are guided by certain principles of good practice with regard to school governance which, prior to nomination, candidates are asked to subscribe to. These principles encompass current best practices relating to governance of independent schools and are adapted from those developed by Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS). They include:

  • active support and promotion of the School’s Vision, Mission, and Strategic Plan;
  • undertaking to keep all board deliberations and correspondence confidential;
  • separation of the interests of the School from the specific needs of a student or school community constituency, and observation of the proper lines of communication;
  • participation in Board deliberations and decisions, and agreement to accept the majority decision, once taken; and
  • contribution of significant time, effort and financial support to the School.

Governors are expected to commit to significant time and effort in serving on the Board. The commitment encompasses full preparation for, attendance at and effective participation in:

  • monthly committee meetings (with service on at least one committee);
  • multi-day retreats twice a year.

Additional expectations include:

  • positive contribution to the development of the School by the use of specific knowledge and skills;
  • contribution to the development of the School through annual giving and other campaign financial support;
  • contribution as a fiduciary of the School, setting the course for sound fiscal and educational policy.
Q10. Are school governors evaluated on their effectiveness?
A

Each year a comprehensive appraisal of progress relating to the governance of the school takes place. It takes the form of an evaluation by Governors of achievements made in the execution of the Strategic Plan and the fulfilment of the Mission of the School and includes an appraisal of the performance of individual Governors, as well as the Board Chair. Additionally each year as part of its review and assessment to select and recommend a slate of candidates, the Nominations Committee confidentially assesses the Governors who are eligible for re-election on a number of factors, including the strength of their contributions to date, their background qualifications, and the needs of the Board moving forward.

Nominations are required each year and the Nominations Committee is charged by the Bylaws with ensuring that both nominations and elections, if required, are well communicated to Members. Members may wish to refer to the Bylaws of the Society, which contain the basic information and framework under which the processes of nominations and elections are implemented. Please refer to the Governance section of the School’s website for information relating to the nominations process, as well as other Board-related matters.

Q11. If an election is required, what is the procedure?
A

If, at the end of the nominations period (21 days following the mailing of the Nominations Papers) the number of nominations exceeds the vacant Governor positions, the Nominations Committee will post resumes and brief statements of interest of candidates on the School website, and advise all Society Members no later than 50 days following the date of original mailing of Nomination Papers. The list of continuing members of the Board, and the means to participate in the Ballot will be emailed to all registered and confirmed Society Members and posted online. Society Members then have until the date specified in the Instruments to place their votes for counting.

Q12. Who is entitled to vote if an election is required?
A

All members of the SMUS Society in good standing and who have up-to-date contact information with the Society (an email address) are entitled to vote and will receive instructions on how to vote online in the event of an election. Eligibility for membership in the Society is specifically defined in the Bylaws (Article 2), being:

(a) the parents or guardians of any current student
(b) alumni who have reached the age of 16 years
(c) parents or guardians of alumni upon application, and
(d) any other person who is invited to become a Member by the Board for good and sufficient reason.

Q13. What is the difference between Nominations Committee candidates and Society member-nominated candidates?
A

The Nominations Committee is mandated by the Bylaws to ensure that candidates are nominated to fill vacancies on the Board. This is considered a critical task involving the assessment of the composition of the Board in light of vacancies caused by departing Governors and then, in the best interests of the school, in selecting suitable candidates for nomination. It is an ongoing task that continuously occupies the Nominations Committee and is undertaken with great diligence and deliberation. As an autonomous body set up by the Board, the Committee identifies suitably qualified candidates for nomination and approaches them individually to consider volunteering to serve the school. Not only are the short, medium and long-term operational requirements of the School considered, careful assessment is also given to the specific skills and experience necessary in each potential candidate in order to assist the school most effectively as it moves forward with the execution of the Strategic Plan to fulfil the Mission of the school. In discharge of its mandate the Nominations Committee identifies those candidates, which it has nominated.

Candidates nominated by individual Society Members are not subject to the same selection process and voters must rely on the skills and experience profiles, as well as the expressions of interest that are provided by such candidates. In the instructions for the Ballot, all candidates’ biographical skills, experience profiles and expressions of interest in serving the School are given equal weight.

The right of any Member to be nominated for election as provided by the Bylaws is not only recognized, but also rigorously observed in the nominations and elections procedures. While being fair to all candidates the Nominations Committee is still bound by its duties as prescribed by the same Bylaws to put forward a slate of suitably qualified candidates to the Society.

Q14. Do Members have a chance to meet and hear from candidates prior to the election?
A

In the past the question has arisen whether or not a meeting of candidates should be held. It is considered to be in the best interests of all Society members to judge the candidates, and vote based on the skills and experience information profile provided in the biographies included in the instruments for the online Ballot. Election by vote is prescribed by the Bylaws since it reflects the makeup of Society membership, and recognizes that it would be unfair to Boarding parents, for whom attendance at such a meeting would be impossible in most cases; the same being true for many other Members of the Society such as alumni and past-parents no longer living in the Victoria area.

Candidates nominated by the Nominations Committee are very carefully considered as to suitability prior to nomination; with candidates nominated by Society members as much care as possible is taken by the Committee to ensure their skills experience profiles adequately enable Members to judge the relative merits of all candidates when voting. The same information is provided in writing to all Society members in order for them to make a fair decision when voting. The best practices followed by other comparable independent schools shows that candidates meetings are not held, probably because such meetings tend to be politically charged and inappropriate for the purpose of electing volunteer Governors for a school.

Q15. How does the electronic voting platform work?
A

The integrity of the voting process is very important, and the Nominations Committee takes steps to ensure that proper process is followed throughout.

Pursuant to the Bylaws, the Board of Governors has authorized that Governor elections may be conducted by electronic means. The e-voting platform selected for this purpose provides a secure, easy to use and efficient method for conducting an election. All eligible members receive a unique personal voting code, together with an electronic ballot and instructions to link to the SMUS Election site. There the voter is invited to select up to the maximum number of candidates for election on the ballot, certify that they are the voter named with the voting code, and press submit. Once submitted the voting code cannot be used again. The vote is electronically deposited in the secure databases of the independent platform provider. The votes are secret/anonymous as submitted. On the date set for counting, a tabulation is run electronically by the platform provider under the scrutiny of the scrutineers appointed in accordance with the Bylaws and the results are verified and confirmed. The Nominations Committee is informed of the successful candidates and posts the result on the school website.