I am nearing a decade of working with school boards. During that time I have had the pleasure to work with outstanding board members from all walks of life. They were dedicated, caring, bright people with a passion for seeing children succeed. While I still have much to learn about public school governance, I can say I have definitely learned one thing. Even the best boards, composed of the brightest, most caring, dedicated people are at risk for minimizing their ability to be an effective governing body if they don’t make a significant commitment to professional development. While board members bring a wide variety of personal and professional experiences to the role of school board member, the actions and responsibilities of governing a public school district are singularly unique. It requires a “balcony perspective” in which the board as a whole is focused on defining expectations, setting policy, and monitoring progress.
That being said, school board members may be some of the least appreciated people in local communities. I am not sure that people understand the time and effort they give. Over the course of the next two months, the SCSD #1 Board of Trustees will take part in approximately 24 hours of Board Leadership Governance Training provided by the Wyoming School Board Association designed to establish a framework for highly effective governance. This, in addition to New Board Member Workshops, will amount to approximately 30 hours of nights and weekends between now and the end of February.
Leaders model the behavior they wish to see implemented within an organization. By committing to an extensive course of professional development and then implementing the policies and procedures that result from this training, our Board has the opportunity to set a standard for both governance and professional development. My thanks to our Board for taking this important step and setting a positive example for the future.