By Bill Scott
KSBA Executive Director
One of my greatest pleasures over the eight years I’ve served as KSBA’s executive director has been the opportunity to work with the amazing group of volunteers who serve on our board of directors. Since I assumed this position in July 2005, 80 board members representing 72 school districts have participated in governing this association. They have devoted countless hours charting the direction of the association in ways that best meet the needs of the 174 district members. They have faithfully attended quarterly and special-called meetings (usually held on Saturday mornings) and participated in countless conference calls as members of our four standing committees – all this above and beyond the duties of their local board and without any compensation for their time and effort.
Back in 1936, KSBA’s founders made the decision to form a governance structure comprising 27 local board members who would reflect the members’ interests as accurately as possible. The system of electing 12 regionally and 12 at large ensures that all areas of the Commonwealth are represented and that the board resembles the membership in demographics such as race, gender and level of education, along with an independent/county school district balance.
Among the key variables in the effectiveness of any board are the experience, competence and character of the leaders of that board. This is certainly true of the five KSBA presidents I’ve had the privilege of serving under. By the end of each president’s term, both I and the association have been blessed by the unique backgrounds, personalities and priorities that each brought.
Brenda Jackson, Shelby County (2005-07)
Brenda attended a segregated elementary school and then was in the first class that integrated Shelbyville High School. This gave her first-hand knowledge of the critical importance of ensuring equal educational opportunities for all students, so it’s not surprising that she was a passionate advocate for at-risk students. Brenda helped our board of directors realize that local boards have a responsibility to advocate for all students regardless of their personal circumstances.
Ed Massey, Boone County (2007-09)
Ed’s “never met a stranger” personality and natural networking skills made him a highly effective leader for KSBA and local boards at both the state and national level. He is passionate about promoting the accomplishments of his school system and urged other board members to do the same. As a director and officer of the National School Boards Association, he continues to be a tireless advocate for public schools.
Delmar Mahan, Whitley County (2009-11)
Although neither of his parents finished high school, Delmar translated his own college experience into a successful career as an accountant and saw his own children become an attorney, dentist and teacher. His personal experience taught him that education is the only real way to a better life. He persistently promoted high-quality preschool as one of the best ways to reduce the dropout rate.
Tom Blankenship, Lincoln County (2011-13)
Even before Tom became an officer, he was instrumental in helping our board of directors, staff and members appreciate the long and distinguished history of Kentucky’s school boards. Tom was the impetus behind the establishment of our First Degree Scholarship that provides financial support to high school seniors who aspire to be the first member of their families to gain a college education.
Durward Narramore, Jenkins Independent (2013-15)
In February, Durward became the first board member from an independent school district to become KSBA’s president in 10 years. His job as a purchasing agent for Virginia’s only maximum security prison is a daily reminder of the high stakes of our current effort to ensure college and career readiness for all our students. I am confident Durward will provide the leadership necessary to continue KSBA’s role as the premier education organization in the Commonwealth.
Over the last eight years, many of our directors have told me that one of their greatest joys has been the opportunity to get to know their fellow directors. They frequently refer to the KSBA board as an extended family. Like all families, our board has experienced the grief of losing a member. Over the past eight years, we lost two of our most respected and effective members: Joe England from Harrison County, who served on our board and on the board of the Kentucky Center for School Safety; and Tim England from Barren County, who attended at least one board meeting in every district in his region and was the first chairman of our political action committee, KIDS First.
As I prepare to step down as your executive director I want to thank not only the 80 board members who served on KSBA’s board during my tenure, but all of Kentucky’s board members for your selfless leadership. I will always consider you the ideal example of public service in the Commonwealth.