The New Jersey School Boards Association’s board of directors met in-person and virtually on Friday, Jan. 27, 2023. President Irene LeFebvre presided over the meeting from the Association’s headquarters in Trenton. Immediate Past President Michael McClure and Vice Presidents Bruce Young and Dr. Karen Cortellino also participated in the meeting from Association headquarters. Vice President Tammeisha Smith participated virtually. Executive Director Dr. Timothy J. Purnell provided his report to the board from headquarters.
The board of directors approved the following items:
- Open session minutes of the Nov. 4, 2022, board of directors meeting.
- Closed session minutes of the Nov. 4, 2022, board of directors meeting.
- Legislative Committee appointments.
- Resolutions Subcommittee appointments.
Executive Director’s Report: Purnell addressed NJSBA activities, and the progress made in enabling school districts to meet the challenges presented to them, including those of the public health crisis, ensuring that members continue to benefit from essential training, advocacy, and direct service.
School Board Recognition Month: Earlier this month, Gov. Phil Murphy issued a proclamation announcing January 2023 as School Board Recognition Month. At the Jan. 11 meeting of the New Jersey State Board of Education, a resolution was passed honoring the state’s local boards of education. This year, a special webpage was established for local school districts to visit for resources they can use locally to celebrate the designation, including sample resolutions and news releases. NJSBA’s publications have also featured School Board Recognition month articles. A short video was released in honor of School Board Recognition Month, which featured NJSBA officers personally thanking all board members for their service. The video was sent to all local board members and featured on NJSBA’s social media feeds.
Financial Update: Workshop 2022 was a financial success. Revenues from Workshop were $2.5 million and generated a profit of $1.6 million. Workshop had a budgeted profit of $700,000 due to the uncertainty of attendance and vendor response but far exceeded that projection.
It is budget season at NJSBA, and budget planning meetings are in progress. Next year’s proposed budget will be presented to the board of directors at the March 17 meeting for approval.
NJSBA’s Focus Areas for 2023: NJSBA is working to serve its members by focusing on three areas of concentration: content, connection and advocacy.
Resources for Board Presidents: NJSBA has debuted a new page on its website with information specifically for board of education presidents, “Resources for Board Presidents.” NJSBA will also introduce a new monthly question and answer feature in School Board Notes, “Board President’s Corner.” Board Presidents are invited to submit questions to be answered by NJSBA’s subject matter experts.
The Executive Director’s Podcast: Purnell will be hosting a regular podcast, called The Boardroom, which will focus on effective board governance and leadership. The podcast will feature interviews with leaders in education, business, and nonprofit organizations. The first podcast features NJSBA’s president, Irene LeFebvre.
Spring Training Programs – Planning for NJSBA’s spring one-day conferences has begun. All programs will be held in-person, with the exception of the Spring Symposium, which will be virtual.
- Finance Conference – March 1.
- Spring Symposium – April 25.
- Leadership Conference – May 17.
- School Public Relations Conference – June 2.
- School Safety and Security – June 9.
In-District Training to Boards – NJSBA, at the request of boards, does specific in-district programs. These programs can cover topics such as ethics, the board’s role in budget development, dealing with difficult people and inherent bias. Field service representatives will also develop a program at the request of a district.
New Board Member Orientation Weekend: New Board Member Orientation Weekend will kick off Friday, Feb. 3. Friday night will be virtual sessions and then Saturday and Sunday will be in-person at the Crown Plaza Princeton Conference Center. There will be a second weekend, March 10-12 at the same location.
County Meetings: County meetings are being held virtually during the winter and will return to hybrid meetings beginning in March to kick off the popular student programs, Unsung Heroes and the 8th Grade Dialogue.
NJSBA Partnerships: Partnerships is another area for connection. NJSBA is fostering its organizational connections with other education stakeholders and groups. One example is NJSBA’s partnership with the New Jersey PTA.
Governor’s Task Force on Public School Staff Shortages: In November, Murphy issued an executive order establishing a 25-member task force on public school staff shortages. Purnell serves on this task force. Topics of discussion have included improving educator recruitment and training, supporting educators to improve retention and state-funded programs to address educator shortages. The report should be finalized in the coming weeks.
Recognition of Retiring and New Members: The following retiring members were recognized for their service to the New Jersey School Boards Association and the students of New Jersey: Amy Hassa, member for Atlantic County; Jerome Page, alternate for Atlantic County; Harry Litwack, member for Burlington County; Joyce Mehta, member for Middlesex County; Patrick Walsh, alternate for Middlesex County; and Joseph Canova, alternate for Passaic County.
The following new members and alternates were introduced and were asked to take their oath of office: Liwu Hong, East Brunswick Board of Education member representing Middlesex County; Kimberly Lane, Piscataway Board of Education alternate representing Middlesex County; and Alan Paris, Clifton Board of Education alternate representing Passaic County.
The board of directors also received reports from the president, vice president for county activities, vice president for finance, vice president for legislation/resolutions, and immediate past president, and detailed reports from NJSBA staff on advocacy and legislation.
Information items included Association financials, legal case summary, schedule of NJSBA holidays, School Board Recognition Month – State Board of Education resolution, School Board Recognition Month – governor’s proclamation and written reports from officers.