Policy Governance and PSESD Board’s Continuous Improvement Journey


Did you know?

School Boards and ESD Boards form the core of Washington’s public education governance system. Our PSESD board is at the heart of our goals to achieve an equitable and just school system. The Board’s governance model helps to hold the ESD accountable for building our own racially equitable organization.  


Beginning in the spring of 2021, the Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD) Board of Directors embarked on a journey to deepen their understanding of Policy Governance. The ESD Board  adopted Policy Governance more than  15 years ago. Over the course of time, the concept of Policy Governance and tools used to guide board actions continued to evolve. The PSESD Board is highly diverse, and all are committed to  on-going learning and continuous improvement. 

Multiple learning sessions were designed to further the Board’s and Executive Leadership Team’s deeper understanding of Policy Governance principles, board practices and rationale for the methodology. The transition of new learning into action propelled the ESD Board and Superintendent to create a plan to move the work forward. 

Policy Governance is a system or process for how to govern. Policy Governance is nothing more and nothing less than this. When understood and practiced effectively, Policy Governance is an approach that presses the organization to focus on its purpose and the impact. This is a model of empowerment which encourages both collaboration and autonomy of thought and an approach that values diversity of thought and diversity of awareness. All of this enriches the Board’s insight and wisdom thereby enhancing Board decision‐making. The PSESD Board works to understand and value community impact and to use their continuous learning to have a positive impact on achieving the goal of “eliminating the opportunity gap by leading with racial equity.”

A multi-ethnic group of adults are attending a meeting
A multi-ethnic group of adults are attending a meeting