February 2019 has been designated as School Board Appreciation Month in Virginia. The theme — Leading for Success — reflects the top priority of local school board members as they advocate for public education with local, state, and federal leaders on behalf of all students.
As citizen leaders, school board members face complex and demanding challenges. Yet few people fully understand the scope and far reaching implications of board members’ responsibilities. Virginians should recognize the vital contributions of these men and women and focus attention on the crucial role these elected public officials play in the education of our children. Their job is to establish a vision for the education program, design a structure to achieve that vision, ensure schools are accountable to the community and strongly advocate continuous improvement in student learning.
That job entails an endless string of meetings and school functions to attend; reams of reports, agendas, proposals and other information to read and study; and a host of difficult decisions to make. Although they wear many hats in the workday world, school board members put on a collective hat when they get down to the business of leading their school divisions. Board members must pull together as a team toward a common goal of helping all students achieve. Though individual school board members may sometimes disagree on issues, their role as a member of the school board is to consistently strive toward the goal of high academic achievement. Working together, school board members speak out for public schools and the students they serve.
Board members contribute hundreds and hundreds of hours each year leading their divisions. Whether it is crafting policies, hiring top-notch administrators, listening to staff and student concerns or recognizing outstanding programs, board members always keep their eyes on the goal of student achievement.
The time spent in board meetings represents just a small fraction of the hours school board members spend leading in their divisions. They also work hard at seminars and training sessions to keep abreast of the latest trends in educational leadership, are deeply involved in community activities and spend many hours in the schools and at extracurricular events. Their love for learning, and concern and caring for students, staff and community, drives board members’ desire to lead so students can achieve.
In recognition of the dedicated service of school board members throughout Virginia, February has been designated as School Board Appreciation Month. This is the time to show our recognition and to increase our understanding of how local board members work together to provide a better future for our children. Please join me in saluting our board members who provide grassroots governance of public schools. I encourage each of you to make a special effort to tell each school board member that their hard work has been noticed and is truly appreciated.
Vicky Hulick, Chairman, Newport District
Jackie Carr, Vice-Chairman, Carrsville District
Kirstin Cook, Smithfield District
Julia Perkins, Windsor District
Alvin Wilson, Hardy District