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KSBA one of 22 founding members of new national school boards alliance

Kentucky School Advocate
May 2022

By Josh Shoulta
Staff writer

Following months of close collaboration alongside other school boards associations across the country, KSBA has assumed its place as a founding member of a newly formed national network of state school boards associations. KSBA is one of 22 founding members of a non-partisan national alliance dedicated to sharing resources to support and strengthen state school boards associations as they serve their members and local school districts.

KSBA President Davonna Page and Executive Director Kerri Schelling joined their counterparts from 21 other state associations on April 10 in Raleigh, North Carolina to sign a resolution officially forming the Consortium of State School Boards Associations (COSSBA). The ceremony represented a significant milestone, creating the Transitional Steering Committee to develop programming and events. The hard work, however, began months ago.

“Our gathering of founding members served as COSSBA’s public launch, but KSBA leadership has been intricately involved in this endeavor since it was just a whisper of an idea,” Schelling said. “I am incredibly proud of the vision that KSBA’s board has for our association, and I’m excited they’ve chosen to cement our place in this new organization’s legacy.”

At a special called meeting in February, KSBA’s board of directors voted unanimously to support Kentucky’s founding stake in COSSBA.

KSBA President Davonna Page and Executive Director Kerri Schelling (bottom right) pose with their counterparts from other COSSBA founding member states.“There is definitely an appetite among our members for learning from and networking with our colleagues in other states,” Page said. “No two states are exactly alike in the ways we do things, but all of us strive for effective governance. All of us seek out those opportunities to up our game as leaders on behalf of the students and communities we serve. And all of us have something to share for the good of public education.”

As a founding member, KSBA will have representation on the steering committee, giving Kentucky’s association voting rights and core involvement as the new organization’s events and training resources take shape. The committee, chaired by Illinois Association of School Boards Executive Director Thomas Bertrand and IASB President Simon Kampwerth, will provide a formal update to all member states following its May meeting.

One of the most anticipated initiatives to come out of COSSBA discussions thus far is the facilitation of the organization’s Urban Boards Alliance (UBA). Schelling says the alliance will provide member resources and opportunities on a national level, equipping board teams with the requisite knowledge, skills and experiences to address educational outcomes of students in challenging environments.“The consortium recognizes that these environments can also impact students in rural and suburban communities,” she said. “Empowering students to excel in any environment – despite geography, race, class, or socioeconomic status – requires an effective national network in tune with today’s challenges.”

KSBA Executive Director Kerri Schelling (left) and President Davonna Page sign the resolution forming COSSBA. 

The UBA, which is open to all COSSBA member school districts, is planning an inaugural conference as early as this fall.As participating state associations held discussions on the vision for COSSBA, there was consensus that the consortium would focus on:

• Support for state associations through effective staff collaboration, networking and shared resources.

• Networking and training opportunities for state association leaders and for local school board members.

• Programming targeted to the unique needs of urban school boards and to rural school boards.

• Advocacy of and information about federal education issues and policies impacting public schools and local school boards.

• Federal judicial advocacy impacting local control and public education.

COSBAA founding members have prioritized specific initiatives for rollout in the months ahead; annual leadership training events (including plans for a spring 2023 conference), training for incoming state association officers and state executives, federal advocacy events, work-alike networks for state association staff and opportunities for school board attorneys.

For more information, visit COSSBA.org or follow @cofssba on Twitter and Instagram.

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