A governance model determines the way an organization is structured; it sets out who makes decisions and how those decisions are reached. DECs use a policy governance model to set the strategic direction of the school district. The model was originally based on the Carver model. This governance model has been adapted to meet the unique structure of New Brunswick’s education system. Each district has its own independent council of elected members.
The DEC develops policies and uses ongoing monitoring to ensure district goals are being met, risks are being effectively managed, and that district resources are being used responsibly. The Superintendent is the employee of the DEC and is responsible for day-to-day operations in the district. The policies developed by the DEC provide direction to the Superintendent.
District Education Councils guide the Superintendent using policies that fall into four main categories.
- Governance Process Policies – define how the members of the DEC will work together to make decisions, maintain accountability, measure the performance of the district, and create linkages with the public.
- Ends Policies – the DEC creates ends policies to set the direction of the district, monitor progress, and define the long-term results to be achieved by the Superintendent.
- Executive limitations – the DEC limits and controls the Superintendent’s decisions by outlining what the Superintendent cannot do without the approval of the Council.
- Council-Superintendent Linkage – the DEC sets out the manner, process, and timelines for monitoring the Superintendent’s progress achieving the goals of the Ends policies and working within the Executive limitations they have provided.
This model allows the DECs to focus on the end results and provide guidelines for the Superintendent when managing the day-to-day operations.
The members of the DEC bring together many perspectives and opinions. All DEC members are encouraged to contribute to discussion and debate at DEC meetings. The DEC governs as a single body. Decisions are made by consensus whenever possible. If a consensus cannot be reached, decisions are made by a majority vote. While individuals may disagree with the outcome of the vote, they must respect that the decision was made fairly and support the direction the council has elected to take.
DEC members are encouraged to become involved in committees, stakeholder consultations, and professional development opportunities at the local and provincial level.