This article presents a trust-centered, integrated model for achieving educational excellence in the higher education industry with focus on governing boards and strategies for academic quality and financial performance. The discussion includes leadership themes and strategies on development of teacher-leaders, creating a culture of shared leadership and effective governance for performance outcomes, robust evaluations of student-learning assessments for continuous improvement, and strategic leadership in the implementation of high-quality programs. Perceptions of trust form the foundation of the integrated model with influences of personality, culture, motivation, values, reliability, competence, and intuition. Trust among board trustees is essential for creating collaborative environments for innovative change and educational performance excellence. Collaborative environments promote a sense of shared leadership and governance to encourage innovation and performance excellence at all levels within the educational institution.