You may stumble onto a good, or even great, board chair by luck, but it’s not likely.


Schools and other nonprofits typically get the chairs they have “grown” -- board leaders who have been nurtured with the chair role in mind. But when there is no advance development, schools tend to get board chairs who are unprepared, untested, and weak. These are often talented people who could have been excellent chairs but find the role frustrating and the work unsatisfying. Sometimes they depart with hurt or puzzled feelings about a disappointing tenure.

Whatever your current situation, it’s time to start developing your next great board chair. To get you started, you may want to utilize “Succession Planning for the Board Chair Position,” a succinct resource available from BoardSource for institutions that want to develop board chairs now and in the future. The resource is available online to BoardSource members and provides information on:

  • Identifying key leadership skills
  • Clarifying key duties
  • Planning the succession process
  • Mentoring the chair-to-be

For more information on board chair succession planning, contact us at

And let us know if your board has recently gone through a board chair transition. What were the triumphs and opportunities that arose in the transition process? What lessons did you learn to inform future chair successions?