A school board member takes on one of the most important citizen responsibilities: overseeing the education of the community’s youth. In these challenging times for public education, school boards are seeking men and women who find excitement and satisfaction in confronting tough challenges and working collegially to rise above them and help students in their communities succeed.
The board of education is a uniquely American institution. It oversees and manages the community’s public school system. It ensures the public schools are flexible and responsive to the needs of the community.
School boards are comprised of volunteers within the community who dedicate their time to better public education.
Responsibilities of a board member
With schoolchildren always their ultimate focus, school board members act officially at the board table, working with other board members to serve students and accomplish the following:
- Create a shared vision for the future of education;
- Set the direction of the school district to achieve the highest student performance;
- Provide rigorous accountability for student achievement results;
- Develop a budget and present it to the community, aligning district resources to improve achievement;
- Support a healthy school district culture for work and learning;
- Create strategic partnerships with the community stakeholders;
- Build the district’s progress through continuous improvement;
- Adopt and maintain current policies;
- Hire and evaluate the superintendent;
- Ratify collective bargaining agreements; and
- Maintain strong ethical standards.
Characteristics of a board member
Below are attributes that all effective board members should possess:
- Effective Communicator: Can describe what he or she wants and describe what others want; a good listener
- Consensus Builder: Capable of working toward decisions that all can support and willing to compromise to achieve goals
- Community Participant: Enjoys meeting a variety of people, can identify the community’s key communicators and reaches out to the community
- Decision Maker: Is comfortable making decisions and can support group decision-making
- Information Processor: Can organize priorities and schedules to handle large amounts of verbal and written information
- Leader: Willing to take risks, be supportive of board colleagues, district staff and community
- Team Player: Helps promote the board’s vision and goals
Information from the New York State School Board’s Association (NYSSBA).