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Charter Board Partners

A Good Match in Florida

June 05, 2018 | by David Connerty-Marin

Eric Deraspe had been thinking for years about volunteering to serve on a charter school board. He was interested in education and doing something to support children, and he saw it as an opportunity to learn about a new area of interest.

Eric Deraspe

Through Charter Board Partners, Eric joined the board of Pepin Academies, a charter school network with two schools in Hillsborough County, Florida, and one in nearby Pasco County. He serves as chair of the Finance Committee. 

“It’s a very good match,” Eric says. “I like the culture of the board. People are working hard to make it successful. And I bring something to the board, as well. I took on the Finance Committee and it’s nice to be recognized for bringing value.”

One of the most challenging things to learn as a board member was the state’s Sunshine Laws, which strictly define open meetings and open records requirements. Eric has had to adjust to limiting emailing regarding board business to stay in compliance, reserving most board discussions for meetings that have been announced in accordance with these laws. 

After attending CBP’s Governance Academy, Eric came to his first Pepin board meeting with questions that led to measurable changes in the way the board operates. “I asked about the committee structure, but we didn’t really have a finance committee,” he says. “I asked to see the bylaws, but they were outdated. Now the board has are committees and updated bylaws.”

The most important job of a board member? 

“To be a bit critical of what’s going on,” Eric says. “To make sure that you ask the right questions. I’m not there to micromanage—or even to manage at all. Board members have to let the principals and administrators do that. But it is our role to ask the right questions, and make sure the school is going in the right direction.”

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