The only organization dedicated solely to helping state boards advance equity and excellence in public education.



As a membership organization, NASBE is governed by a board of directors, which includes representation from each of NASBE’s four regions: Northeast, Southern, Central, and Western. New state board members and NASBE affiliates are also represented on NASBE’s board.


 

Christine Benson

Christine Benson
Chair-elect

Dr. Christine Benson is a member of the Illinois State Board of Education. She is a retired career educator with 35 years of experience, 17 as a teacher and 18 as an administrator in Illinois public elementary, middle, and high schools. She served as a central office administrator focusing on budget management, curriculum development, and […]




Janet Cannon

Janet Cannon
Chair

Janet Cannon was first elected to the Utah State Board of Education in 1994. She was subsequently re-elected and served on the Board through 2012. After a four-year hiatus, she is back serving a fifth term on the Utah State Board of Education. She is a strong advocate of NASBE and previously served as western area […]




Fern Desjardins

Fern Desjardins
Secretary-Treasurer

Fern Desjardins was nominated to the Maine State Board of Education by former Governor Paul LePage and was confirmed by the Maine Senate in April 2018 for a term of 5 years. She currently serves on the state board’s construction committee and sits on the Maine Charter School Commission. In the past, Desjardins has served […]




Byron Ernest

Byron Ernest
Immediate Past Chair

Dr. Byron Ernest is a former (2010) Indiana “Teacher of the Year” and currently serves as director of educator development and partnerships for Noble Education Initiative Inc., where he develops and provides professional development and leadership training globally. Previously, Dr. Ernest was superintendent/head of schools for Hoosier Academies Network of Schools. He also served as […]




Woody Exley

Woody Exley
Northeastern Area Director

Elwood (Woody) Exley, Jr. was appointed to the Connecticut State Board of Education by Governor Ned Lamont in June 2020. He is the owner of Exley Communications LLC, a 31-year-old enterprise that which provides editorial services to major corporations in Connecticut and beyond. In collaboration with the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, Exley manages […]




Patti Gubbels

Patti Gubbels
New Member Representative

Patti was elected to the Nebraska State Board of Education in 2020 after serving for six years on the Norfolk Public Schools Board of Education. She spent 30+ years working in higher education positions before retiring. Her career included teaching education and psychology courses at Northeast Community College, Wayne State College, and the University of […]




John-Paul Hayworth

John-Paul Hayworth
NCSBEE Representative

John-Paul C. Hayworth is the executive director of the DC State Board of Education. He joined the state board in 2015 after serving in two mayoral administrations and on Capitol Hill, including as an advisor on federal, congressional and local affairs specializing in education, economic development and budget issues. He also represents the District of […]




Ronald McNinch

Ronald McNinch
Western Area Director

Ron McNinch was initially appointed in 2016 by Governor Calvo to the Guam Education Board as the business sector representative. With the election of Governor Lou Leon Guererro in 2016, he was encouraged  to continue in this role. He is chair of public administration and legal studies at the University of Guam and his primary areas of concentration are public sector […]




Sarah Moore

Sarah Moore
Southern Area Director

Sarah Moore was appointed to the Arkansas State Board of Education in 2018 by Governor Asa Hutchinson to represent Arkansas’ first congressional district. A resident of Stuttgart, Moore taught elementary school in the Stuttgart School District and then worked at the Office for Education Policy at the University of Arkansas. In addition, she has worked […]




Pamela Pugh

Pamela Pugh
Central Area Director

Dr. Pamela Pugh was elected to the Michigan State Board of Education in 2014 and currently serves as its vice president. She is the co-founder of Regeneration LLC, a consultancy that serves as a catalyst for economically sustainable and healthy urban communities, helping agencies, organizations and businesses build capacity through effective operations and partnerships. Dr. […]




Julie C. Tolleson

Julie C. Tolleson
NCOSEA Representative

Julie Tolleson is a graduate of Baylor University and received her law degree from the University of California, Berkeley. Since spring 2016, she has served as Colorado’s First Assistant Attorney General for K-12 education, where she heads the team that represents the elected State Board of Education, the Colorado Department of Education, the Colorado School […]






Featured Items

Image Credit: iStock Closeup shot of two unrecognizable people holding hands in comfort. i

Empowering Youth to Prevent Suicide

This NASBE analysis highlights state action examples, identifies multipronged approaches to youth suicide prevention, and discusses federal funding opportunities available to states to support peer-to-peer programming.
Image Credit: iStock i

How States Are Handling Lead in School Drinking Water

This NASBE analysis details how statewide efforts to test for lead in school drinking water vary across the country.
Image Credit: iStock i

The Role of Schools in Racial Justice

Authors in this issue argue schools can progress toward educational equity only if, at every challenge, state leaders are willing to make decisions that put the needs of our most vulnerable students first.

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