The New Jersey School Boards Association’s board of directors met in-person with a virtual option on Friday, May 13.

President Irene LeFebvre presided over the meeting from the Association’s headquarters in Trenton. Immediate Past President Michael McClure and Vice President Bruce Young also participated in the meeting from Association headquarters. Vice Presidents Tammeisha Smith and Dr. Karen Cortellino participated virtually. Executive Director Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod provided his report to the board from headquarters.

The Board of Directors approved the following items:

  • Appointment of new Executive Director due to Feinsod’s retirement.
  • The extension of Feinsod’s current contract to July 29, 2022 (if needed).
  • $350,000 appropriation from free balance for future technology upgrades.
  • Waiving of the portions of Governance and Operations file code 8309 requiring a 2nd reading before the Board of Directors in order to change the internal policy manual of the Association.
  • The revisions to the 6000 series of the Governance and Operation Manual on the first reading.
  • Open session minutes of the March 18, 2022 meeting.
  • Legislative Committee appointments.

Executive Director’s Report  Feinsod 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.

 Information and Resources for Boards One of the objectives of NJSBA’s strategic plan involves strengthening board and community relationships by providing the public with a better understanding of the role of the local board of education. This month, NJSBA has published some resources to assist boards with the important task of community relations. The Association released a new brochure, “A Guide to Board of Education Meetings in New Jersey,” which will be a valuable resource for boards. Boards are encouraged to print and share this resource at board meetings, and to post the link on their district websites. The brochure will educate the public, and act as a reference guide for the media. It will also serve as a refresher for board members.  It talks about the roles and responsibilities of boards and superintendents, details board meeting procedures and provides guidance for members of the public who may want to speak at board meetings.  A downloadable link to the brochure was emailed to all board members, superintendents, and business administrators in early May. It was also featured in School Board Notes and released to the media. This document is in the process of being translated into Spanish so that districts can provide the information to their Spanish-speaking parents and constituents.

Technology Investment Proposal  A technology investment was proposed to the board of directors to maintain and upgrade NJSBA’s technological resources. It was a prior investment in technology that, in part, enabled the Association to pivot so quickly and seamlessly to provide virtual services when the pandemic hit in March 2020. This initiative addresses an action item in the strategic plan that calls for the Association to update and add hardware and software as needed, in order to develop and maintain NJSBA’s capability to conduct both in-person and virtual programs, meetings and events.

NJSBA eLearning Center  NJSBA’s Professional Learning and Communications, Information Technology and Marketing divisions have been working on an eLearning Center for the NJSBA website, which will provide access and information on the wide range of virtual professional learning opportunities that NJSBA provides – in one easy-to-use online location. This will make it more convenient for members who are trying to locate the training sessions that will be most useful to them and will provide a sort of “one-stop shopping” site for professional learning. The eLearning Center is expected to be launched in a few weeks.

New Executive Director Appointment  The NJSBA board of directors unanimously approved Dr. Timothy Purnell as the ninth executive director of the New Jersey School Boards Association. Purnell is currently the interim executive county superintendent for Morris County and is a former superintendent for the Somerville Public Schools and Harding Township School District.  He has been a consultant to nonprofits and school districts on governance, strategic planning, leadership development, technology integration and other strategies. He also has association experience, having served as the chief executive officer and executive director of the national American Montessori Society.

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, Workshop 2022 and technology upgrades.

Information items included Association financials, legal case summary, technology proposal, GO policy revisions, strategic plan action items, 2022-2023 governance calendar, Special Education Week proclamation and written reports from officers.

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