The Board of Trustees: Demystified


A photo of Westtown’s West entrance.

Moussa Dibassy, Editor

According to recent polling from 90 Upper School students, 83% of Upper School students are clueless about the actual function of the Board of Trustees, and 81% of Upper School students have never seen a board member on campus. Some students wonder why such a powerful entity remains so elusive. Why are Westtownians so oblivious to the existence of our Board of Trustees – arguably the most important group on campus? 


“Normally we’re much closer to the community than we’ve been able to be in the last two years,” said Charlotte Triefus, a Westtown Board member and a mother of three Westtown alumni. “We have four board meetings a year, and we spend half a day of the board meeting with the opportunity to go sit in classrooms to experience the school from that level,” Triefus said. Covid has been the main reason why the Board of Trustees is absent from Westtown’s campus. Triefus is a part of the Board’s admissions, grounds, and marketing committees, and shared that returning to Westtown classes after a two-year hiatus is something she anticipates. “I believe in the Westtown education, and I believe in the fact that the world needs more Westtonians. I can do a small piece to help ensure that Westtown goes on and gives that kind of education to more and  more kids,” Triefus said.


“I understand how they function, they’re kind of the boss of Teacher Chris, but I don’t really know anything else about who they are. I understand also that they have a lot of influence with decisions,” said Kate Soland, one of the SBPs and a senior at Westtown School. Soland argues that this is a major shortcoming of the Board of Trustees. “They could be a lot more transparent of who they are, and how they make decisions,” Soland said. 


“[The Board of Trustees] set the vision, they set the policies, and they ultimately are responsible for the future and sustainability of this school,” said T. Becca Rankin, assistant to the Head of School. T. Becca works extensively with the Board of Trustees and is a part of the Board selection process. “We would like to create more opportunities for the trustees to be here, and be in the community to really understand how things are going, and get to know our students and faculty and administrators alike on a more personal level. 

Update: A group of Westtown student leaders, made up of current and future student leaders, had a lunch with a few of Westtown’s board of trustees. On April 8th, I was able to sit and the meeting, as well as be apart of a larger effort to establish meaningful connections between Westtownians and board members. The meeting occurred during the Board’s visiting weekend, where they visited classes and met with administrators for the first time since the first pandemic lockdown in March of 2020.