KSBA Conference opening session

KSBA Conference opening session

School board members: Happy heroes

School board members: Happy heroes

Advocate Staff Report

If the shouts of “Good, better, best!” were any indication, KSBA annual conference opener Harvey Alston knows how to motivate a crowd.

Alston, a former teacher and coach, led the 1,000-plus attendees in chanting those words – loudly – to emphasize one of his mottos: “Never let it rest until good becomes better and better becomes best.”

But that wasn’t his only message he urged on the audience:

• “We may live in a sad world but the sad world doesn’t have to live in us.”

• “Every day is a good day. Today is the best day of my life.”

• “The best team doesn’t win nearly as often as the team that gets along best.”

• “If you don’t have the best of everything, make the best of everything you have.”

• “If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.”

• “It’s good to be smart, but it’s smarter to be good.”

Alston, quoting a young student who defined a hero as “someone who helps somebody,” said by that definition, school board members are heroes who make a difference.

“You are that hero. What do you do? You help somebody. You lift those standards. What do you do? You feed the hungry … hungry little young people who come to school for quality education and we provide that standard for them. A loving place, a secure place, a safe place: We provide that for them,” Alston said. “And in doing so we develop and nurture people to the level that one day they will have the advantage to become somebody in life.”

In show and tell mode, Alston had audience members holding up placards with letters that spelled out “HAPPY,” as both a word and an acronym.

Heart: Do your job with all your heart – if you do, “Everybody will want to be around you.”  Conversely, he said, “If you don’t want to be on the board, quit.”

Attitude: “That’s what we need to learn how to do: Change all of our attitude so the people in our communities, the people we work with, the staff, everybody knows that we’re the kind of people you want to be around, because what’s on our inside is going to show on our outside each and every day,” Alston said.

Pride: It means being personally responsible for developing excellence, he said.

People: “We’re in the people business,” he said. But, he added, even if we were all the same, “we would still find little things to argue about. That’s the reality of the world. What we have to learn to do is cooperate with each other, get along with each other.”

You: You can make a difference, you can turn things around.

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