Graduations remind us why we serve
Kentucky School Advocate
By Davonna Page
The end of each school year brings graduations, proms, musicals, plays, promotion ceremonies, band concerts and much more. These events are always joyous occasions for both students and families, filled with pride of accomplishment mixed with anticipation for the future. Students and their loved ones reflect on their journeys to this point, and anxiously look forward to the next chapter. Successes are celebrated. Talents are highlighted. Progress is recognized. Deservedly, many then have the opportunity to relax and recharge before the next school year.
These events provide an opportunity for school board members to reflect on our individual journeys as well. It would be easy for us to just dwell on the long and contentious board meetings, the difficult decisions we are called upon to make, a tough legislative session, and valuable time away from our families and careers. These are all realities for dedicated public servants, but I would encourage you to revel in the celebratory moments, considering your own contributions to your districts and communities. Find inspiration in these milestones to keep pushing forward. Allow your students’ pride in accomplishment to serve as a reminder of your original call to public service.
Aside from the pomp and circumstance of graduations, June represents an important time for school board members for other reasons. With the June 7 election filing deadline looming, many of our peers are making decisions about whether or not to seek another term. Whether you have opted to complete your board service this fall, or you have decided to seek another term, I commend you for your service and your accomplishments.
The decision to run for public office is never an easy one, with so many factors to consider, but the weight seems even heavier this year. Turn on the evening news or log in to social media, and you see almost immediately the difficulties facing local school boards isn’t unique to the Commonwealth. Those entrusted with the governance of our public schools are facing increased scrutiny and new challenges. Our responsibilities as board members have not changed, but the political dynamics have. Our commitment to students has not waned, but general civility in the public forum has. All the more reason to seek respite this summer, if only briefly, before diving right back in.
Your duties as a board member are year-round, but I challenge you to find opportunities during the slower summer months to relax, take a breath and recharge. There is much work to be done to prepare for the next school year, and self-care will only benefit your performance in the long run as an elected leader. Take this time to focus on the importance of public education and recommit yourself to strengthening, advocating for, and improving public education throughout the Commonwealth.
The close of the 2021-22 school year means that we now start looking forward to the start of the next one. I certainly look forward to continuing to work alongside each of you on behalf of all of Kentucky’s public schools.
Congratulations on another successful school year. Bring on 2022-23!