Board service unites us
Kentucky School Advocate
By Davonna Page
You may know me as KSBA’s 47th president, or as an 18-year member of the Russellville Independent Board of Education, but allow me to tell you a little more of my story.
I am a mom to one daughter, Priscilla. I have one sister, Linda. Both have had an incalculable impact on my desire to serve. Frankly, I simply could not do what I do without their love, encouragement and support.
I am a paralegal. I am a volunteer. I am an active member of my church. I enjoy watching sports. Prior to serving on my local school board, I was a school-based decision making council member and a PTO officer.
While our stories are unique, I am confident that each of us ran for our respective school boards for the same reason: we believe in the life-changing impact of public education on the children in our communities. Sure, it may have been policy, or taxes, or facilities that originally sparked our interest in the position, but it is the success of our students that compels us to serve and motivates us to want to be better.
My parents instilled in me the importance of education. My mother taught me two important things that remain with me to this day. Number one: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Number two: Do not judge someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes.
Those values drive me to work for all students; urban and rural; Black, white and brown. No matter the socio-economic status or the circumstances in their homes. They can and should receive quality educations and with them equitable opportunities to succeed.
Public education is arguably the most important service provided by our government and I believe that what each one of us does as board members is essential. Not always fun. Rarely glamorous. Often stressful, but essential, nevertheless.
A school board member’s charge is the effective governance of their districts for the benefit of their communities. As you know, with that charge comes pressure from all sides: lawmakers, parents, teachers, community members.
We must use our voices – loudly and in unison – to influence those lawmakers to develop policies that support quality public education. And to unite those parents and community members in support of our local districts. To lead our districts with wisdom and grace. To ask the questions and to have the answers. That is a tall order considering the turbulent and divisive times in which we find ourselves.
I will continue to be an avid and outspoken supporter of the important role school board members play in public education. But I am asking for your help.
As your president, I will work hard to make sure KSBA continues to provide you with the services and support you need to lead your districts. But I am asking for your active participation and engagement.
Our 27-member board of directors, its officers and KSBA staff will continue to strengthen our organization’s position as the leading advocate for Kentucky’s system of common schools. But we are asking for your commitment.
As school board members, 857-strong, we have a transformational role to play in the futures of nearly 650,000 students, potentially impacting our communities for generations to come. But that role does not stop at the board room door or upon adjournment of a meeting. As a matter of fact, to be successful, we as board members must recognize and appreciate the role we can play when we are not sitting around the board table.
As we kick off a new school year, I challenge you to think about how you can not just be a better board member at your meetings each month, but how you can be an advocate for public education day after day. How can you be a better communicator, a more knowledgeable decision-maker, a more compassionate listener, a better representative for all your constituents – not just the ones who voted for you?
Thank you for your service this year. I wish each of you the best of luck in 2021-22. Your association stands with you!