When you look at many school and district academic performance scores around the state, it is abundantly clear that we must elect school board members who are committed to improved student learning and effective leadership – individuals who form a focused “board of directors” for the school system and are not driven by personal politics.
So, when we’re looking for good school board candidates, what kinds of things should we be looking for? Here are some characteristics to consider drawn from a variety of sources. A potential good school board candidate:
- Runs for the board to improve the quality of public education in the community.
- Is sincerely dedicated to children learning.
- Believes every child can achieve at least at grade level.
- Is driven by improved outcomes and performance.
- Believes decisions should be based on the best interests of the community, not individual constituents or single-interest groups.
- Is informed about innovative practices in the local district and elsewhere that show positive results.
- Respects others’ views and has a desire to work to build consensus.
- Is not a slave to the status quo if it’s not producing the desired results.
- Commits to spend time and energy needed to stay informed and active on all issues pertaining to schools in the district.
- Is aware of the chronic problems that face public education inLouisiana such as turning around low-performing schools, closing the achievement gap, and reducing dropout rates.
- Has expressed a commitment to public service, not personal gain or ambition.
At the end of the day, great school board members don’t see themselves as politicians. They’re public servants who accept the awesome responsibility of improving the quality of public education for children of all ages, incomes and backgrounds.
They don’t make excuses for why schools aren’t performing at levels that will ensure opportunities for all students to succeed. They look for answers and solutions and focus their governing and leadership skills on creating and sustaining a high-performing school district.