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Notes from the Board

January 29th, 2014

Dear CDS Families:

Welcome to the first “Notes from the Board” post of 2014.  With this blog, Board of Trustees members plan to share the perspectives, plans and decisions of the CDS Board, including what ideas the Board is exploring to continue to make CDS a great school for our children. I am serving in my third year as the Chair of the CDS Board of Trustees. My wife Rebecca and I have two students at CDS, Eli (fourth grade) and Tessa (second grade).

The Board of Trustees serves as the school’s governing body. The Head of School serves as the school’s Chief Executive Officer and is responsible for day to day school operations (including supervising teaching, developing the curriculum, hiring, admissions, fundraising and implementing the budget). The Board of Trustees does not make any decisions about the school’s daily operation. Rather, we think strategically and ensure that the daily operation is in line with the CDS mission and long-term goals.

The Board has two primary roles. First, the Board is responsible for overseeing the school’s finances, including approving the school’s annual budget and setting tuition. Second, the Board develops and implements CDS’ strategic vision embodied in its mission statement. These two responsibilities are linked. Having a detailed and stable financial plan allows CDS to expand its curriculum, hire more teachers, pay them competitive salaries and continue to provide sliding scale tuition to a third of its student body (double the San Francisco and national average–an annual accomplishment that reflects the values of our student, parent, faculty and administrative community). Board members also take a leadership role in fundraising.

The Board has several standing committees that divide the important work of school governance and planning. Trustees work year round on the Committees on Finance, Advancement, Facilities Development, Inclusion & Diversity, Audit, and the Committee on Trustees. We also have a Strategic Planning Task Force currently engaged in even more long-term thinking about the future of a CDS education. The entirel Board meets at least once a month and trustees are regularly asked to attend conferences and special meetings. It is a significant time commitment on the part of our 23 trustees, some of whom are CDS parents and others are non-parents who believe in CDS’ mission and values. The work is meaningful to all of us, and it is a pleasure to be part of the school’s well-being.

What I’ve tried to explain is not a complete list of what the Board discusses or decides. As in all of our lives, new opportunities and changes take place. The Board tries to oversee CDS each year so that together we can grab exciting opportunities so that CDS continues to educate its students to love learning and be passionate about their studies and activities.

Each year, the Board of Trustees partners with the administration to host the State of the School. It is our chance to report to you the work we do. We hope you will join us on Thursday, February 6 from 6 - 7:30 p.m. at 601 Dolores. Childcare will be provided at 333 Dolores during this time. Please sign up for child care at the front desk or by email ( by Monday, February 3.

I am always willing to answer questions and to discuss your ideas. Please contact me, or any board member, with your questions and comments. A list of board members can be found on the CDS website at We look forward to seeing you at State of the School, and please look for future “Notes from the Board.”


Eric B. Fastiff