Maria Alamo, a member of the Nutley Board of Education, is New Jersey’s 2005 School Board Member of the Year. NJSBA established the award this year to recognize the contributions of the state’s local board of education members.
An independent out-of-state panel met this summer and selected Alamo from among 21 nominees statewide. Nominations could be made by other board members, superintendents, business officials, school district staff or members of the community.
“The panel based its selection on Maria’s efforts on behalf of Nutley’s school children, her positive impact on the community in general, and her dedication to public education statewide,” explained Edwina M. Lee, NJSBA executive director. “They also considered her commitment to professional development as a local school board member.”
A member of the Nutley Board of Education since 2000, Alamo played a pivotal role in the district’s successful school construction proposal and was instrumental in the revision of school safety policies following 9-11. In addition, her efforts led to establishment of a nonvoting student representative position on the board. Alamo has also maintained a strong relationship with municipal officials and successfully led community opposition to the placement of a natural gas pipeline near an elementary school.
Alamo has served as the Nutley school board president. In addition, she received the Master Board Member designation from the NJSBA Board Member Academy earlier this year. Master Board Members have earned the Academy’s basic Certificated Board Member status, but go on to complete a comprehensive course of study designed to enhance their competence in strategic planning, negotiations and leadership. Master Board Members also pass an NJSBA-administered exam. Only 165 school board members have earned the designation since establishment of the Academy in 1992.
Creation of the Board Member of the Year program resulted from the work of an NJSBA study committee of nine local school board members. The group recommended guidelines, requiring that nominees are current members of their local school boards; have served a minimum of five years on the board; have achieved basic Certificated Board Member status through the Academy; and have demonstrated leadership, service and contribution to education at the local, county and state levels.
NJSBA plans to honor Alamo during Workshop next month.
“We offer our sincerest congratulations to Maria Alamo on her designation as New Jersey’s first School Board Member of the Year,” said Lee. “She exemplifies the dedicated public servant and education advocate. Maria has certainly set a high standard for the School Board Member of the Year program as it continues in future years.”