An Effective School Board Member:
- Has common sense
- A sincere dedication to give every child a real chance for a good education.
- Is an effective communicator
- Is a consensus builder
- Has been an active community participant
- Recognizes the difference between governance and management
The Outstanding School Board Member
- Runs for the board to improve the quality of education.
- Recognizes the importance of community service and exhibits a strong desire to “give back” to the community.
- Believes strongly that every child can achieve and ask, “Is it good for kids?” when deliberating at board meetings.
- Recognizes and respects the individual strengths and differences of each board member, and supports everyone’s right to freely express opinions.
- Can disagree on issues and still maintain respect and trust for other board members and the superintendent.
- Understands the need for confidentiality on issues-personnel, pending litigation, contracts-that can be discussed only during closed sessions.
- Contributes to having board meetings operate in a dignified, professional manner in which everyone is treated with civility and respect.
- Interacts with other board members and the superintendent in a positive, constructive, helpful manner.
- Is motivated to serve on the board solely for the purpose of maintaining and improving the educational system for all children.
- Is willing to serve at least two terms in the interests of stability.
- Places high priority on encouraging other outstanding citizens to run for the school board.
- Understands the board’s proper role and resists attempts to micro manage.
- Serves as liaison between the school system and community and shields the superintendent from undue political pressure.
- Helps ensure that board meetings and other board work focus on improving student achievement.
- Supports the board’s key role in policy, vision and goals, community engagement, budget adoption, and fiscal responsibility.
- Understands that individual board members have no authority unless delegated by the board. Under state law, only a quorum of the board has authority to act and to make decisions at a duly called board meeting.
Adapted from Finding the Best
Cronin, Goodman and Zimmerman
American School Board Journal, March 2004