Board Opportunity
Synergy Academies

Organization Profile

Mission Statement

Synergy Academies’ mission is to create and share solutions that eliminate the achievement gap. Synergy creates and shares solutions through the operation of urban public charter schools in South Los Angeles that implement a holistic approach to education, believe in collective accountability, and share best practices through professional collaboration.

Our Vision is to create model STEM schools that will empower students to be the next generation of problem solvers.

Organization Description

Synergy Academies was founded by two former Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) teachers in 2004. Dr. Meg Palisoc and Dr. Randy Palisoc both worked in inner city Los Angeles elementary schools where the majority of students were significantly below grade level. Determined to prove that all students were capable of academic success, regardless of their background, Meg and Randy decided to open a charter school with the goal of eventually sharing out best practices with other schools.

Synergy Charter Academy opened with 6 founding teachers and 120 K-5th grade students in 2004. The school was located on a church site, where every classroom had to be packed up entirely each Friday afternoon. Despite this challenge, Synergy’s students flourished, and within four years, Synergy Charter Academy catapulted its students’ academic achievement to near the top 10% statewide.

In 2008, Dr. Barbara Shannon, also a former LAUSD teacher, joined the Synergy team to help start Synergy's middle school, and in 2011, Dr. Shannon co-founded Synergy's high school.

Synergy Academies now serves over 1,300 students in grades K-12 in three schools: Synergy Charter Academy (elementary school), Synergy Kinetic Academy (middle school), and Synergy Quantum Academy (high school).

All Synergy schools are focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and are intentionally collaborating with and co-located with traditional LAUSD schools on campuses in South Los Angeles.

Service Area
Local: South Los Angeles, CA -- 90011 zip code

Staff Size
140 people

Board Size
11 people

Average Board Tenure
5 years

Programming Area(s)
K-12 Education

http://www.WeAreSynergy.org

Address

900 E 33rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90011

Board Position

Term Length
2 years, terms may be renewed three times years

Position Description

The Board of Directors has fiduciary responsibility for Synergy Academies’ schools and is responsible for determining the overall direction of the organization.  The Board currently has fifteen seats and meets every other month for 3 hours, usually on a Saturday morning at one of Synergy's campuses.  Members are responsible for attending meetings and familiarizing themselves with all documents and reports distributed before the meeting.

Members are asked to participate in at least one committee, which requires additional meeting attendance.  Board members’ terms are for two years at a time and may be renewed three times.  The Board has an expectation that its members donate financially to the organization, based on each individual's ability to donate.  Governing board members serve voluntarily and are not compensated.

The Board of Directors is responsible for setting policy, but delegates day-to-day operational decision-making to a central office Leadership Team and the school Directors, with the assistance of their staff. The Leadership Team is responsible for creating procedures for carrying out the policies and directives of the Board of Directors.

Specific responsibilities of the Board of Directors include making major policy decisions, monitoring the school’s compliance with applicable laws, the school’s fiscal health, academic performance, and progress toward achieving its mission and vision, supervising and evaluating the Chief Executive Officer, making decisions affecting the school's educational programs and budgets, and adhere to federal and state laws, the Articles of Incorporation, and adopted Bylaws.

Meetings of the Board of Directors of Synergy Academies shall be compliant with the Ralph M. Brown Act.

Estimated monthly time commitment
2 hours

Board charitable giving policy
Give a personally meaningful financial contribution to Synergy Academies within each fiscal year.  As a Board member invested in Synergy Academies, your contribution should be one of your top giving priorities.

Other key board roles and responsibilities

  • Be committed to and aligned with the mission, vision, and values of Synergy Academies
  • Have a clear understanding of the Board’s governance role
  • Review and monitor the organization’s financial statements and otherwise help the Board fulfill its fiduciary responsibility
  • Work collaboratively
  • Give time to the activities of the Board, including
  • Informed participation in Board decision-making
  • Membership in at least one committee of the Board
  • School events
  • Fundraising activities
  • Board development
  • Attending at least one state and/or national charter school conference
  • Publicly support decisions made by the Board
  • Make public comments only on behalf of the Board and when authorized to represent the Board

Desired board member experience/expertise
Accounting
Communications
Finance
HR
IT
Nonprofit Executive

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