Friday January 28, 2022

Support Your Local School Board

Leadership Matters.

January is designated as National School Board Appreciation Month, an opportunity to show gratitude for the community members who provide countless hours and strategic direction to school districts across the country. There are more than 2700 school board members in Oklahoma, representing small, medium and large school districts across the state, with many differences but also many issues in common.

The citizens who choose to run for their local school board are typically not career politicians and don’t have aspirations to be. They choose to run because they believe in the value of public education and what it brings to all children. They believe in their ability to make a difference in the lives of the students they serve. They care about this work and they care about our children and families. They are often put in the very difficult positions of responding to criticism from parents and community members who have a variety of opinions about the many difficult decisions made by school district leaders, many of which aren’t even made by school board members themselves. (Yes, it’s true…school board members are NOT part of every decision a school district makes!)

The best school board members are able to listen to their constituents while staying in their lane and not straying into district operations. That is the superintendent’s job. If he/she isn’t leading a team to do that job, then the school board should step in to take action. Community and family members having a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of school board members would go a long way in alleviating this added stress and it might even alleviate some of the contentious school board meetings that we hear so much about.

As January comes to a close, be sure to take a moment to thank your local school board members. These are difficult roles that take a lot of time, and simple expressions of gratitude will go a long way.  This is an extraordinarily difficult time for everyone involved in education and these people are volunteers who usually have other full time positions.

Another very important way to show your support is by heading to the polls. There are a number of school board elections on February 8, and on April 5 in Oklahoma City Public Schools. School board elections are some of the lowest turn -out elections in our state and they rarely get more than a mention in the news.

Leadership matters more than ever in our world, but especially for our kids.

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