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Board Membership

The Polaris Board of Directors is actively looking for full board, and sub-committee, members across a wide range of disciplines, including but not limited to:

  • Development;
  • Education;
  • Finance;
  • Consulting/Project Management;
  • Human Resources;
  • Social Services/Community Affairs/Security;
  • Law; and
  • Corporate Executive/Operations.

We would welcome introductions to well-qualified candidates in any of the above areas.  If you are interested in potential board membership at Polaris, please contact Michelle Navarre to begin discussions of your membership.


Below are descriptions of specific areas of high-need, for the Polaris Board.  We are prioritizing our search for candidates in these areas.


As part of the Board of Directors’ responsibility to ensure adequate resources for students’ education, Polaris Board Members actively support the organization’s fundraising efforts.  This includes making a personally significant financial contribution, soliciting or serving as a pathway for soliciting gifts from contacts, assisting with the recruitment of Board of Director members with influence, affluence, and/or access, and overseeing the organization’s fundraising efforts.  Polaris has had many fundraising successes over the past two years and is in search of at least one (1) additional member to serve with an expertise in this area for continued success.  The Board candidate would ideally have experience in nonprofit development, be willing to solicit gifts from others, and maintain meaningful contacts in the Chicago municipal and/or regional area.  The Board is flexible with respect to whether such candidate’s development background is related to education or another fundraising area.

The candidate’s role will be to work primarily with the Polaris Development Committee (DC).  The main roles of the DC are:

  1. Help set goals – Responsible for setting financial and benchmarking goals in partnership with the fundraising team and ensures infrastructure, budget and board engagement are in place to achieve goals.
  2. Ongoing review and analysis of revenue streams – Committee reviews historical, actual versus goal on an ongoing basis to ensure achieving fundraising goals are on target. In collaboration with Finance Committee, ensures fundraising expenses stays within budget.
  3. Fundraising – Actively participates in cultivation, solicitation and stewardship activities with guidance and support from development staff.
  4. Board engagement – Participates in individual board annual responsibility agreement and helps drive activation of those commitments made by each board member.
  5. Role model – Committee members commit to making a personal gift, participates in fundraising efforts and serves as an advocate for resource development with all board members.


The Polaris Board currently maintains a strong contingent of members with expertise in the field of Education.  However, given the importance placed on supporting school leadership in its academic programming standards, Polaris is in search of at least one (1) additional member to serve with an expertise in this sector.  The Board candidate would ideally maintain meaningful contacts in the Chicago municipal and/or regional area.  The board is flexible with respect to whether such candidate’s background is in primary, secondary and/or post-secondary education, as well as the charter, public and/or private arena.

The candidate’s role will be to work primarily with the Polaris Academic Excellence Committee (AEC), one of Polaris’ standing committees.  The main role of the AEC is to ensure that academic excellence is clearly measured, and that the Board approves annual goals to attain academic excellence.  More specifically, the AEC is primarily responsible for working with the school leadership to: define and maintain academic excellence; ensure that all board members know, understand and can speak about the academic aspects of the school and know the related charter promises that were made to the community and the authorizer; and to devise clear and consistent measures to monitor the aforementioned goals, including the administration and review of the school leader’s performance.

Human Resources

The Polaris Board seeks a candidate to replace an exiting-member who currently serves as our board expert in the area of Human Resources.   The board seeks a candidate with a strong background in Corporate Operations, Management and/or Human Resources; this individual could potentially have primary or supplemental experience in Strategic Initiatives or Legal Services (as it pertains to Collective Bargaining representation).  Prior or current experience within the Education and/or Non-Profit sectors would be ideal, but is not necessary.

Business Executive Leadership/Finance

The Polaris Board of Directors desires to onboard additional members with general corporate executive and/or finance backgrounds.  The board seeks candidates with significant work experience (senior level or retired), and strong ties to the Chicago-area business community.

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