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KSBA News Article

Executive Insights

Kerri Schelling

Book study highlights governance 
 
Kentucky School Advocate
July/August 2019
 
By Kerri Schelling
KSBA Executive Director 
 
When people hear I work for the Kentucky School Boards Association, inevitably two things will happen. The first is that they will look at me with what I interpret as momentary confusion and the second is that they will tell me about a wonderful teacher they had in school/are married to/or that appears somewhere in their family tree. Don’t get me wrong – I love to hear the stories and I’m thrilled for the opportunity to share our story, but it is also a stark reminder that too many people don’t understand what school boards do. 

If someone says they are a police officer, a doctor or a plumber, most people would describe each job in a similar way: police officers keep people safe and arrest lawbreakers; doctors make sick people well; and plumbers fix water leaks. But tell someone you are a school board member and all bets are off! During my tenure at KSBA, I have had conversations with people who believe school boards do everything from making day-to-day decisions about schools to meeting once a year to raise taxes. I’ve had very few conversations with people who understand that school boards exist to govern the district. And I’m not really surprised. 

Governance can be a tricky concept to get your arms around because it typically doesn’t conjure up specific, concrete behaviors, yet the success of a school district is inextricably linked to the school board’s ability to do it well. If we want a strong system of common schools, it is imperative that school board members, superintendents and other educational leaders understand the principles of good governance. And KSBA has a new way to help. 

On July 8, KSBA launched its inaugural guided book study of “The Governance Core: School Boards, Superintendents and Schools Working Together” by Davis Campbell and Michael Fullan. Each of the nine weeks that follow is dedicated to one of the book’s nine chapters. These short, easy to read sections are coupled with an email offering reflections and a poll question designed to help participants process that chapter’s information and bring it to life. Toward the end of the study, KSBA will hold a live, online discussion during which KSBA staff will highlight major themes from the book.

Many school leaders across Kentucky are participating on their own, or together as a board team, and early feedback has been outstanding. Wish you had signed up?  It isn’t too late to join in the learning! You can still register for the book study  to be added to the weekly email list. Don’t worry about the weeks you have missed – those emails will be sent to you as well, so you’ll have everything you need to complete the activity. You may order your copy of the book online or work with your local bookstore or library to secure a copy.  

Participation in the study is FREE (!) and board members will earn two hours of elective training credit upon completion.

No one comes to school board service with all the knowledge and tools he or she needs to be successful and new information, ideas and applications are always emerging. Whether you are a rookie or veteran, I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to grow professionally. American journalist Margaret Fuller may have said it best: “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader!”

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