When Rudolf Steiner established the first Waldorf school, he included a direction that the school should be governed as a republic, rather than using a single source of authority at its helm. This empowered those who were in charge of the teaching philosophy and methods, or the pedagogy of the school, to have full responsibility for how the education was delivered. In addition to setting a pedagogical direction and educating students, governance of a modern school must also address the complexities of day to day operations, care for its social community, and build a long-term vision for the institution.

Whatcom Hills Waldorf School follows a governance model similar to many other Waldorf schools, where several organizational groups focus on various aspects, working in collaboration toward the overall governance of the school. Governance roles at the school are listed in more detail below.

Collegium (College of Teachers)

The Collegium, formed primarily by the teaching staff as well as administration, is responsible for the school’s pedagogical programs and activities. This body also provides for the recruitment and development of teaching, specialty, and support staff members. The Collegium is organized around three committees; a Pedagogical Committee, a Care Committee, and a Community Committee, which are explained in the Committees section below.

Pedagogical Director 

This individual has a wide range of responsibilities related to establishing and evolving the school’s curriculum and ensuring that the school can meet its pedagogical goals. This person acts as the liaison for the Collegium to the Board as an ex-officio Board member. The Pedagogical Director is also one of six members on the Executive Committee and works closely with the Administrative Director in addressing the various daily needs of the school community, as well as maintaining our relationships with other regional schools.


The administrative staff oversee the business and daily operations of the school. General areas of responsibility include finance, legal, outreach, enrollment, health, safety, marketing, logistics, and communication. A number of staff members are needed to achieve this, including an Administrative Director, an Enrollment Coordinator, a Registrar, a front Office manager, a Bookkeeper, and a Site Coordinator.

Administrative Director 

This role is responsible for overseeing the school’s operations and finances, largely through directing the administrative staff. The Administrative Director also acts as liaison between the Administration and other governance bodies and works closely with the Pedagogical Chair in managing relationships within and outside the school community. Similar to the Pedagogical Chair, the Administrative Director is an ex-officio member of the Board, is one of six members on the Executive Committee, and serves on several other committees related to the running of the school.

Executive Committee

This small group is tasked with regularly monitoring the overall governance and operation of the school. It consists of the four Board Officers, the Administrative Director, and the Pedagogical Director. This regular contact between representatives helps operations align with strategy and provides a hub or bridge between the various governance entities.

Board of Trustees

The Board is responsible for overseeing the management and operations of the school as a non-profit entity, including supporting the school’s mission of bringing Waldorf education to our community. In practice, the Board’s role in governance is focused on the school’s growth and development, fundraising, financial stability, operational oversight and setting budgets. Board activities are done with long-range planning and guidance as a priority. To that end, the Board works with all governance bodies and the school community to create a shared strategic plan from which to operate. Board membership includes representatives from the current and past parent community, the Collegium, and other associates of the school. The Pedagogical Director and the Administrative Director also serve as ex-officio members. The Board has several standing committees, dedicated to topics such as Finance, Site, Long Range Planning, and Trustee Growth, which are mentioned in more detail below. The Board carries out its mandate through the school’s By-Laws.

Board Officers 

The Board has four elected officers; President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer. They represent the Board in the Executive Committee, and along with upholding the Board's overall mandate, they are responsible for creating and maintaining a long-range plan for the school. The Board Officers also coordinate the Board’s hiring and peer review for the Administrative Director and Pedagogical Director.


Much of the planning and implementation of governance is carried out by various committees. A few of these are covered below, to give a sense of how the work happens.

Care Committee

This sub-committee of the Collegium provides support for students and faculty where needed. Membership is drawn from faculty and staff, but must include one person from the Early Childhood program, one from the Grades faculty, one specialty teacher, and one from the Administrative Staff. Mandated activities include support for the emotional, physical, and academic needs of the school community, arranging student observations, check-ins, and action plans, communicating first grade readiness, and maintaining a resource list of community specialists.

Community Committee

This sub-committee of the Collegium provides support for parent education and outreach, open forums, and festivals. Membership is open to any faculty or staff member, but must include the Enrollment Coordinator. Mandated activities include the creation of a yearly plan for community activities, creating the assembly roster and newsletter schedule, coordination of the staff and Parent Council regarding festivals, communication of festival meaning to the community, monitoring a ‘Questions and Feedback’ platform, encouraging participation in community events, and providing a library of resources for the community.

Pedagogical Committee

This committee is created by the Collegium. Its role is to develop and uphold the school’s pedagogical and academic curricular standards based on Rudolf Steiner’s teachings. It is also responsible for the mentoring and evaluation of teachers and managing teaching staff turnover. Membership is open to teachers who are experienced in Waldorf Education and have been at the school for at least one year. Typically, the Pedagogical Director is the Chair of this committee. Mandated duties include ensuring compliance with curriculum guidelines, setting benchmarks and homework guidelines by grade level, coordinating teaching staff evaluations, coordinating student assessments, determining overall program offerings and structure, creating the pedagogical master calendar, arranging peer visits and mentoring, coordination of student teacher placements, coordination of professional development for teaching staff, and communications regarding pedagogical questions and issues.

Finance Committee

This Board committee provides oversight over the financial affairs of the school. It is typically chaired by the Board Treasurer. The Administrative Director is expected to be on this committee as well. Mandated activities include developing the operating budget for Board approval, reporting budget performance to the Board, overseeing financial audits, and guiding the Board in short-term and long-term financial planning.

Development Committee

This committee works to oversee the development of the school’s resources and funds. Resources can include enrollment, community, volunteers, and partnerships. Funds can include donations, fundraising events, and capital campaigns. Membership should include at least one Board member, the Development Director, and one Parent Council member, with the Enrollment Coordinator as an optional recommendation. Mandated activities include oversight in the planning and execution of fundraising events, oversight in growing and maintaining community relationships, working to establish new opportunities for development, and reporting status and progress toward financial goals to the Board.

Long Range Planning Committee

From time to time, the Board will form a Long Range Planning Committee that serves to bring together leadership from the various parts of the school to review and revise the school’s Long Range Plan. At least one Board member will serve on this committee. The committee also serves to regularly summarize progress on goals and report any possible concerns to the Board.

Site Committee

The Site Committee is responsible for tracking, planning, and implementing the upkeep and improvement of the WHWS facilities. Membership should include at least one Board member, plus the school’s Site Coordinator. Mandated tasks include tracking current and future needs for site work, assisting in the prioritization of work, evaluating bids for contracted work, assisting with management of large projects as needed, and reporting and overview of site activities to the Board.

Trustee Committee

The Trustee Committee is tasked with caring for the growth, enrichment, and well being of the Board and its members. This is done through reading assignments, seminars, and social activities. This committee works to discover and reach out to community members that are good candidates for Board membership. This committee also facilitates the election of Board Officers as directed by the By-Laws.

DEI Committee 

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee is tasked with creating strategies and recommendations to be taken up throughout the governing bodies of the school to help develop a more inclusive school culture following the guidelines of AWSNA (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America). This group includes members of the Board of Trustees, College of Teachers, Parent Council and Administration.

Parent Council

While not a formal governance body, the Parent Council plays a critical role in facilitating healthy communication and involvement within the school community. Membership is almost entirely pulled from the parent body, with some participation from staff. The Parent Council coordinates the many school festivals, offers enrichment programs, does outreach beyond the WHWS community, and collaborates on much of our fundraising. Council structure typically includes two representatives from each class in the school, including the early-childhood programs. The Administrative Director, Pedagogical Director, and Board members frequently attend meetings of the Parent Council. There is also an assigned Parent Council liaison in attendance at most Board meetings.