Looking back, moving forward
Kentucky School Advocate
By Ronnie Holmes
When I interviewed to become president of the Kentucky School Boards Association, someone asked whether I realized the amount of travel involved. That’s a valid question, because my Graves County home is in far western Kentucky. Eighty percent or more of the Commonwealth is east of it. I said I’d do whatever it takes to get the job done. So, I learned firsthand about travelling numerous miles and spending many nights away from home. However, as with us all, the greatest challenge for me in recent months turned out to be the coronavirus pandemic and events following it.
After serving on the KSBA board and as regional chairman, I became president-elect, visiting sites in all 12 regions. I had many ideas to emphasize and accomplish. The new reality of altered circumstances required us to take a different route than we’d planned to achieve what we could. We made some progress and I’m proud of that. We initiated an officers’ retreat, providing the officers and executive director more time together than ever before. We even hosted a golf tournament to fund scholarships through our KSBA Educational Foundation, Inc.
I enjoyed and learned from visiting the National School Boards Association. We travelled to Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia, San Antonio and Washington, D.C.
Providing me tremendous help during my KSBA presidency were immediate past-president David Webster, president-elect Davonna Page and the board of directors. I also learned so much from other past-presidents’ unique perspectives, including Allen Kennedy, Durward Narramore, Tom Blankenship and Ed Massey.
Of course, Executive Director Kerri Schelling and the KSBA staff are true professionals, always there for you, with whatever help you need. They make it really easy. I say it’s like driving, they keep the engine running and all I had to do is steer.
I’ve travelled numerous miles, met interesting people and seen places in Kentucky I’d never seen before. Honestly, I was impressed to realize every district I visited had innovative, productive practices customized to their needs. That diversity has helped me learn and grow. I’ve seen impressive groups who care so much about kids and work so hard to provide students the best education they can.
I truly believe that KSBA empowers its members to come back home with ideas to develop, grow and improve their own districts. As school board members, there really is only one major thing we can do for our students. That is to provide them with the best environment possible for their education to be relevant, comprehensive and successful.
We can make sure students have a good, safe place to attend school, safe buses to ride and a quality environment for learning. We provide the opportunity. Then it’s up to the professional educators to make a significant difference in the lives of each student in Kentucky public schools. In what better collaboration could we invest our time, talent and treasure than preparing Kentucky’s children and teenagers to be the best they can be?
Our organization has a wonderful history of achievement. Still, my time as a member – and especially as president – makes it clear to me that KSBA is not about the past. It’s about the future and that’s the way it always should be.