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4. Board of Directors

4.1 Composition

4.1.1 The board of directors shall consist of the president, the president-elect, and the vice president; 12 elected directors, 4 of whom shall be elected each year for a term of three years; and the immediate past president, who shall serve for a term of one year. The chairperson of the Steering Committee of the House of Delegates shall be an ex officio member of the board with full voting rights. (Constitution, Article II, Section 6.)

4.1.2 Board membership at all times shall include: seven classroom teachers, of whom at least one is an elementary teacher, at least one is a middle level teacher, at least two are secondary teachers, and the remaining three chosen "at-large" with no designated grade level; at least one college or university teacher; and at least one social studies supervisor. The remaining three directors will be chosen "at large" with no designated category, grade level, or professional role NCSS student members preparing to fill any of these professional roles shall be eligible for nomination and election in any of the categories above. (Constitution, Article II, Section 6.)

4.1.3 Job Changes During Terms of Office

If members of the board change jobs during their terms of office so that they no longer fit the categories to which they were elected, they may remain on the board for the duration of their terms.

4.1.4 Vacancies

In case of a vacancy on the board of directors, if the board decides to fill an unexpired term, the president, with the consent of the executive committee, shall appoint a person to fill the unexpired term. (See also section 1.3.9, Filling Board Vacancies.)

4.2 Duties of the Board

4.2.1 To appropriate funds from the treasury (Article II, Section 6.)

4.2.2 To hire the executive director (Article II, Section 5.)

4.2.3 To review actions of officers and committees (Article II, Section 6.)

4.2.4 To select the date and place for the annual conference (Article III, Section 6.)

4.2.5 To determine the annual dues (Article III, Section 3.)

4.2.6 To approve the hiring of the auditor.

4.2.8 To set policy for NCSS and, toward that end, deliberate on all items of concern to NCSS and to the profession as a whole.

4.2.9 Decisions by Executive Committee or Outside of Regular Meetings

4.2.9.1 On rare occasions, because of time constraints, it may be deemed necessary for the executive committee to make policy. When the executive committee does make policy, implementation must be delayed until such decisions have been communicated to the full board with immediate reaction requested by email. If more than five board members respond negatively to the action, the president must either arrange a conference call for discussion and vote or hold the decision in abeyance until the next full board meeting.

4.2.9.2 Because of time constraints, the NCSS President may ask the board to vote on matters by mail, email, fax or teleconference. With the exception of a teleconference, votes requested in this manner must provide for a period of discussion prior to a vote. and provide options to approve, disapprove or defer the vote until discussion by the board. At least 51% of board members must vote for approval of items on mail, email or fax ballots for a matter to be approved. If fewer than 51% of the board members vote to approve or disapprove the question, the matter shall be postponed for discussion at the next board meeting, or by telephone conference if necessary. When votes are held by telephone, a majority of the directors participating in a telephone conference when a quorum is present may act on the question. The board of directors will reaffirm all decisions taken by mail, email, fax or telephone conference at the net regularly scheduled meeting.

4.2.10 To develop a long range plan for NCSS. The board will develop a three-year plan that will be monitored and reviewed annually. The board will meet annually in February or March to review and possibly revise this plan. A general survey of random NCSS members and non-member social studies professionals will be conducted at least every three years, beginning in 1997, to inform the long range planning process. Representatives of the associated group leadership may attend the annual board planning meeting at the expense of the associated groups.

4.2.11 To determine nomination and election procedures.

4.2.12 To exercise all powers not assigned in the constitution to other officers or to the membership of the national council (Article II, Section 6.)

4.2.13 To review and act upon any changes in the terms and conditions of employment of NCSS staff that are recommended by the personnel committee.

4.2.14 Policy Changes Presented to House of Delegates

Any major changes in NCSS policy which will substantially affect local council policies and practices must be presented to the house of delegates prior to implementation, except in extraordinary cases at the discretion of the president.

4.3 Meetings

4.3.1 The agenda for meetings of the board of directors shall be prepared cooperatively by the steering committee chair of the house of delegates and the executive committee of the board of directors. The NCSS president shall take initiative in making the arrangements for the preparation of the agenda (Article III, Section 4.) The emphasis at the spring meeting will be on planning for the new year, including the setting of goals and approving the allocation of resources. The winter meeting will assess the work of committees and provide new or reaffirm old charges for them, consider resolutions from the house of delegates, and review the annual audit. The meeting held during the annual conference will study the substance of the profession and consider reports on the status of the social studies.

4.3.2 Board meetings shall be conducted according to Robert's Rules of Order.

4.3.3 New board members are asked to attend an orientation session prior to their first board meeting.

4.3.4 Newly elected board members may not vote at the board meeting prior to their assuming office except that they can vote for and be a candidate for the executive committee at that meeting.

4.3.5 Board Meeting Travel

NCSS will pay travel and housing costs for winter and spring board of directors' meetings, executive committee meetings and orientation meetings for new board members. Board members are responsible for making air travel reservations through the designated online corporate account. Air reservations should be made at the lowest available coach fare, no later than 30 days prior to the meeting when possible. NCSS will reimburse mileage for members who drive to meetings. NCSS will pay a fixed per diem for meals for each meeting day, and reimburse members for incidental expenses, including parking, and transportation to and from the airport.

For meetings which take place at the annual conference, NCSS will reimburse board of directors' members for one night hotel at the conference rate at the headquarters hotel, and one-day per-diem.

4.3.6 Beginning in 2006 until 2009, upon request of K-12 teacher board members who need assistance in gaining time to attend board meetings, NCSS will provide 4 full days of substitute compensation payable to the member's school district.

4.4 Duties of Board Members

4.4.1 To initiate and react to items of board consideration. All board members are expected to carry on an active correspondence with the officers, other board members, the executive director, and the chairs of the committees to which they are liaisons.

4.4.2 To serve as liaisons from the board to one or more NCSS committees. As liaison to:

  • 4.4.2.1 communicate regularly with the committee chair.
  • 4.4.2.2 advise the committee on how it may assist and advise the board, and communicate board actions to the committee promptly.
  • 4.4.2.3 advise the board as to the committee's actions and deliberations.
  • 4.4.2.4 review the committee's reports and submit them with comments to the president and director of administration for inclusion on the winter board meeting agenda.
  • 4.4.2.5 attend meetings of the committee and advise the president-elect and president regarding leadership potential observed and tasks unfinished.
  • 4.4.3 To serve on committees of the board to which they are appointed by the president.
  • 4.4.4 To represent NCSS at regional and other conventions in their areas.

4.45 To serve as liaison to state councils as assigned by the president.

  • 4.4.5.1 Liaisons should serve as the primary contact between a state council and the board of directors.
  • 4.4.5.11 Liaisons should communicate with state council presidents and executive directors to learn about state issues and needs and should bring these items to the attention of the president and full board.
  • 4.4.5.12 Liaisons should communicate to state council presidents and executive directors a summary of board actions and approved minutes of board of directors' meetings.
  • 4.4.5.1.3 Liaisons may not act on behalf of the board and should refer questions regarding interpretation of board policy to the president.
  • 4.4.5.2 When possible, board members will be assigned as liaison to their home or neighboring states.
  • 4.4.5.3 When possible, board members will serve as liaison to the same councils throughout that member's term.

4.4.6 By resolution of the house of delegates, to meet with the constituencies at a time set aside each year at the NCSS annual conference.

4.4.7 To communicate and offer assistance to the NCSS office staff.

4.4.8 In the event on-going personal and/or professional responsibilities prevent a board member from fulfilling any of the above enumerated board member duties (See 4.4), it will be incumbent upon the board member to submit a letter of resignation to both the Executive Director and the President. (approved May 2004)

4.5 Management Committees of the Board of Directors

4.5.1 Purposes

The NCSS Board of Directors has management committees which review and advise the full board on specific areas of operations and policies as well as completing assignments specifically designated to that particular committee by the board.

4.5.2 Management Committees

Management committees of the board are: Executive, Documents Review, Endorsements and Special Projects, Personnel, Audit, Finance, Stewardship Fund, and Grant.

4.5.3 Executive Committee of the Board

4.5.3.1 Composition

The president is the chair. The committee shall consist of the current year's president, president-elect, vice-president, immediate past president, chair of the house of delegates steering committee and two at large representatives from the board of directors. These at-large representatives are elected by the constituent members of the board of directors at the last board meeting prior to the beginning of the new fiscal year and shall serve one year terms.

4.5.3.2 Term of Office

The term of office shall be from July 1 through June 30, with the exception of the chair of the House of Delegates Steering Committee whose term shall be from the end of the current year's house of delegates meeting to the end of the following year's house of delegates meeting.

4.5.3.3 Time of Meeting

Prior to regularly scheduled board of directors' meetings to prepare the work of the board. If necessary a third meeting may be held in September to hear the preliminary audit report, to handle interim business, and to plan for the November board meeting. Conference calls may be used when time or circumstances preclude the Executive Committee from meeting. Additional meetings will be held only if urgent business requires it.

4.5.3.4 Duties

4.5.3.4.1 To administer, with the assistance of the staff, the policies approved by the board and to monitor all NCSS activities to insure its commitment to equity.

4.5.3.4.2 To review and evaluate both committee and staff reports, and to make recommendations to the board concerning requests set forth in such reports

4.5.3.4.3 To provide assistance to the program committee and make progress reports on the committee's work to the board.

4.5.3.4.4 To evaluate and monitor the financial status of the council, including:

  1. study the annual budget as proposed by the executive director;
  2. review the proposed budget and recommend any necessary changes prior to presentation to the board for approval;
  3. approve the expenditure of limited funds, not listed in the budget, in answer to emergencies;
  4. monitor and make recommendations to the board of directors concerning NCSS investments, property held by NCSS, and the NCSS publications inventory;
  5. manage the capital fund - the committee should confer with the contact person for this portfolio at least twice a year for a review of the investments, and the chairperson should request a review each quarter to see that the portfolio is being invested and administered according to the policies of the board of directors;
  6. receive reports from the Defense Fund Committee and the FASSE Board.

4.5.3.4.4.1 Staff reporting on expenditures over budget

Staff shall notify the Executive Committee for approval when expenditures are projected to exceed 15% or $10,000 of the annual budgeted amount for line items in expense categories that exceed $50,000.

4.5.3.4.5 To evaluate proposals for the co-sponsorship of projects as presented by the special projects committee and to recommend appropriate actions to the board.

4.5.3.4.6 To review the agenda for each board of directors meeting and, where appropriate, to recommend action for the full board.

4.5.3.4.7 To attend to any other occasionally arising items of business.

4.5.3.4.8 To act as the outstanding service award subcommittee (see Awards Guidelines: Outstanding Service Award.)

4.5.4 Documents Review Committee

4.5.4.1 Composition

The past-president is the chair The vice-president is a member of this committee. The president appoints four members from the board of directors during the year prior to their one year terms, which begin July 1.

4.5.4.2. Time of Meeting

At the February Board of Directors Meeting and by telephone and mail as required. The committee will make a report to the board of directors on the disposition of its review process.

4.5.4.3 Duties

4.5.4.3.1 The documents review committee shall annually review the Constitution, the Policy Manual, approved BOD minutes, and HOD resolutions. The committee chairperson will keep copies of all the documents listed above for five years. The committee will annually review the documents to determine:

  1. that all motions passed by the board have been acted upon and implemented;
  2. that all resolutions passed by the HOD have been acknowledged and implemented, as appropriate, by the BOD
  3. that all council documents, position statements and guidelines are reviewed on a timely basis as determined by the committee. The committee will review all position statements and guidelines on a five-year rotation. The committee will decide whether statements and guidelines should be discarded, or updated and revised. If a position statement is to be revised or updated, the committee will forward it to the appropriate operations committee. Under special circumstances, the committee may recommend that the board of directors appoint an ad hoc committee or task force to revise or update the statement or guideline. All committee recommendations will be reported to the board of directors.
  4. that actions taken by the board are reflected in the policy manual.

4.5.5 Endorsements and Special Projects Committee

4.5.5.1 Composition

The committee is composed of the vice-president and past president, and three members appointed by the president. The vice president will serve as chair. The committee meets the evening prior to scheduled board meetings. The president appoints board members to the committee during a board member's first term. Board members will serve for three year terms. When possible, the chair of the Publications Committee and the director of publications shall be involved in all decisions about special projects involving any type of publication. The director of publications shall have the opportunity to review all materials produced. (revised May 2004)

4.5.5.2 Time of Meeting

At the annual conference and in conjunction with regular board meetings as required.

4.5.5.3 Duties

This committee shall review and recommend proposals for the board of directors to undertake special projects. Special projects are projects that are undertaken with other organizations and use outside funding and/or use the NCSS name for endorsements. Guidelines for this committee's tasks are in Section 9.61.

4.5.6 Intergroup Relations Committee (dissolved by Board Sept 2013)

4.5.7 Personnel Committee

4.5.7.1 Composition

President, president-elect, vice president. The president is the chair.

4.5.7.2 Time of meeting

As needed.

4.5.7.3 Duties

4.5.7.3.1 To negotiate the terms and conditions of employment of the executive director which will be presented to the board of directors for its approval.

4.5.7.3.2 To provide guidance to the executive director and in the negotiation of the CWA contract, modification of the exempt employees' personnel policies, and any other employee related contract.

4.5.7.3.3 To consult with and advice the executive director on strategies to insure affirmative action compliance, development and clarification of job descriptions, and other staff related issues not covered in other parts of the policy manual

4.5.7.3.4 To evaluate the performance of the executive director as defined in sections 3.3, 3.31, 3.32 and 3.33.

4.5.7.3.5 To provide advice to the executive director in the process of staff performance evaluations.

4.5.7.3.6 To review the process and procedures used by the executive director to determine staff satisfaction with the executive director's performance.

4.5.7.3.7 To deal with any other relevant personnel matters.

4.5.8 Audit Committee

4.5.8.1 Composition

Three members appointed from the board, one appointed each year by the president, each serving three-year terms, and the past president. The board member in his or her third year on the committee will serve as chair.

4.5.8.2 Time of Meeting

During scheduled Board meetings, as appropriate.

4.5.8.3 Duties

4.5.8.3.1 To serve as the liaison between the Board of Directors and the auditing firm, with consultation from the Executive Director and Director of Finance.

4.5.8.3.2 To recommend an auditor to the Board of Directors, review the auditor's reports, and present findings to the Board of Directors (with consultation from the Executive Director and Director of Finance.)

4.5.9 Finance Committee

4.5.9.1 Composition

Current NCSS Executive Committee Members. The Vice President is the chair.

4.5.10 Stewardship Fund Committee

4.5.10.1 Composition

The committee is composed of the vice-president; three members appointed from the board, one appointed each year by the president, each serving three-year terms; and the executive director. In addition, the president-elect may appoint a member of his or her conference planning committee or other individuals with non-profit experience to serve as ex officio members of the committee. The vice-president will serve as the chair.

4.5.10.2 Time of Meeting

As needed.

4.5.10.3 Duties

4.5.10.3.1 Work with staff and the board to define the short-term and long-term funding needs for NCSS and establish fundraising plans to meet those needs.

4.5.10.3.2 Provide input and guidance into the development of fundraising activities including planned giving campaigns, annual appeals, membership marketing efforts, and other solicitations.

4.5.10.3.3 Assist staff, board members, and other volunteers in identifying and soliciting funds from corporate sponsors, foundations, and other external sources of support.

4.5.10.3.4 Work with the staff, board members, and other volunteers to greet and host donors, sponsors, and potential donors attending NCSS events.

4.5.10.3.5 Monitor fundraising efforts to ensure that they are cost effective and that donors are acknowledged appropriately.

4.5.11 Grant Committee (approved September 2017)

4.5.11.1 Composition

The past president and three members of the Board of Directors appointed by the President during a board member’s first term, as well as three members of the staff, including the Executive Director and two members appointed by the Executive Director. Board members will serve three year terms.

4.5.11.2 Function

4.5.11.2.1 Review grant applications, focusing on oversight, how grant success will be measured, budget and implications for NCSS before grant is submitted.

4.5.11.2.2 Consider staff input of effect of grant on day to day activities at NCSS.

4.5.11.2.3 Consider effect of grant on staff time, receive updates about the progress of the grant throughout the process and communicate progress to the BOD as a whole seek out grant opportunities for NCSS.

4.5.11.2.4 Serve as a resource for staff in applying for grants.

4.5.11.2.5 Provide updates to the Board of Directors about NCSS grant endeavors.

4.5.11.2.6 Require approval from the Board of Directors for grants over $50,000.

4.6 Conflict of Interest Policy

The standard of behavior at the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) is that all board members scrupulously avoid conflicts of interest between the interests of the NCSS on one hand, and personal, professional, and business interests on the other. This includes avoiding potential and actual conflicts of interest, as well as perceptions of conflicts of interest. Upon or before election, hiring or appointment, board members should make a full, written disclosure of interests, relationships, and holdings that could potentially result in a conflict of interest. This written disclosure will be kept on file and board members will update it as appropriate. In the course of meetings or activities, board members must disclose any interests in a transaction or decision where the member (including business or other nonprofit affiliations), a member's family and/or my significant other, employer, or close associates will receive a benefit or gain. After disclosure, at the discretion of the Chair, a board member may be asked to leave the room for the discussion. Under no circumstances will a board member be permitted to vote on the question.

4.6.1 Disclosure Form

The following wording shall be used on a disclosure form.

"Please describe below any relationships, positions, or circumstances in which you are involved that you believe could contribute to a conflict of interest for you and the National Council for the Social Studies. I hereby certify that the information set forth above is true and complete to the best of my knowledge. I have reviewed, and agree to abide by, the Policy of Conflict of Interest of NCSS that is currently in effect. I understand that this policy is meant to supplement good judgment, and I will respect its spirit as well as its wording. (signature and date)"