From the President’s Pen: Want to Be a Great State Board Member?
What a delight it was to interview three rock-star state board chairs for this edition of the Standard! Their passion for excellence in education is infectious, their focus on creating the conditions for student success is inspiring, and their respect for, and trust in, the intentions of fellow board members and policymakers is admirable. They have navigated issues both challenging and not so challenging and sought consensus with care. They truly value their board’s collective voice and a commitment to journeying together, even when it is difficult to achieve.
I am writing this a few weeks after the November 2022 elections. In campaigns across the country, candidates from all sides often demonized and vilified their opponents—the antithesis of the “we’re all in this together” mentality necessary to build common vision and purpose. Negative campaigning is common, I know, but sad nonetheless.
NASBE from time to time has been asked to quietly advise boards who struggled to achieve a unified vision. While the challenges vary, the approach that works best assumes good intent, facilitates respectful dialogue and empathic listening to people with varying perspectives, and embraces civility. Different perspectives inform policy design and implementation, and impactful ideas are shaped from the input and embraced.