The New Jersey School Boards Association’s board of directors met in-person and virtually on Friday, May 3.

Karen Cortellino, M.D. presided over the meeting from the Association’s headquarters in Trenton.  Immediate Past President Irene LeFebvre and Vice Presidents Barry Fitzgerald, Tom Connors, and Chanta L. Jackson all attended the meeting in person — as did Executive Director Dr. Timothy J. Purnell.

The board of directors approved the following items:

  • ACES Cooperative Pricing System Membership Renewal.
  • Open session minutes of the March 15, 2024, board of directors meeting.

Executive Director’s Report: Purnell addressed NJSBA activities, and the progress made in enabling school districts to meet the challenges presented to them with the assistance of the Association’s essential training, advocacy and direct services.

NJSBA Financial Update: With only a few months left in the fiscal year, NJSBA is in an excellent financial position. There are several factors that have contributed to this:

  • Workshop 2023 exceeded its registration, exhibitors’ and sponsorship revenue targets.
  • Fee-based superintendent searches and district strategic planning revenues exceeded budgeted amounts.
  • Memberships of the Personnel Administrators Association were higher than expected.
  • Earnings from the NJSBA Cooperative Purchasing Program exceeded expectations.
  • Revenues from BoardDocs commissions exceeded the year-to-date budget.
  • Investment income has been higher than expected due to higher interest rates.

One area where revenues outpaced expectations this year has been in superintendent searches. NJSBA has been spreading the good news about its superintendent search services more widely and has begun posting successful superintendent searches on LinkedIn.

Invoices for fiscal year 2025 member dues will go out at the end of June. NJSBA was pleased to be able to provide business administrators with district-specific dues information at the end of January, so they could plan accordingly as they developed their own fiscal 2025 budgets. 

Workshop 2024: Programs such as Unsung Superheroes, the Thursday School Law Forum and STEAM Tank will be continued at Workshop. Some new features will be introduced, such as a special area on the exhibit floor for career readiness and dual enrollment. 

Spring Training Programs: The inaugural NJSBA Women’s Leadership Conference was held in April and attracted nearly 200 attendees and was a tremendous success.  Sessions included “Bringing Your Whole Self to Work,” “The Importance of Girls Mentoring Programs” and “Developing Equity Mindsets.”

In March and April, NJSBA hosted a series of three board of education leadership programs, in locations in South, Central and North Jersey. Topics covered included personnel issues, school finances and funding and communications challenges and strategies.

NJSBA’s Spring Conference will be held on Friday, May 10 and will feature sessions on student achievement, communications and school public relations and school safety and security.

Mandated training sessions have continued. In addition to the Weekend New Board Member Orientation programs, held in January and February and the self-paced online training available at all four levels — Governance 1, 2, 3 and 4 — there have been live virtual training days for all levels of mandated training.  These days were held in February, March and April. More than 600 board members participated.

The county association student programs, the Eight Grade Dialogues and the Unsung Hero programs recently finished for the year and were a great reminder of the work done by the Association and its members. 

Executive Director’s Goals 2023-2024:  Purnell provided the board of directors with an update on the three goals that he set for himself and the Association last year revolving around content, connection and advocacy. 

1.Governance 1 “Reboot” Report: Carl Tanksley Jr., general counsel, and Gwen Thornton, director of field services, headed up this effort. They formed a small task force that met several times during the fall and winter and provided guidance and input, met with the small group leaders who assist in the training and surveyed new board members who had recently taken the training courses. Their report has been submitted to Purnell and Thornton discussed the recommendations, which included:

  • Review of the statutory requirements for Governance 1.
  • Suggestions for additional topics to be covered in the training.
  • Recommendations for updating small group materials.
  • Recommendations for changes to the handbook provided to new board members.
  • Program evaluation suggestions.
  • Group leader recruitment and training.
  • NJSBA staff training suggestions.
  1. NJSBA Website: Stacy Moorhead, associate director of graphics and web development, provided the board with a preview of the new website and provided an overview of some of the new features.
  1. Federal Advocacy Task Force Rubric: A Federal Advocacy Task Force was formed, which was charged with developing a rubric that would guide current and future NJSBA leadership during annual consideration regarding membership in a national/regional organization of school board associations. The members of the task force consisted of past and current leaders, officers and staff of NJSBA, each bringing institutional knowledge and personal experience. The group met virtually multiple times to gather and consider input and develop the rubric. The use of the rubric is predicated upon the annual development of a specific/detailed list of desired services and opportunities that NJSBA currently feels are needed. 

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, as well as detailed reports from NJSBA staff on advocacy and legislation.

Information items included Association financials, legal case summary, executive director’s 2024-2025 goals, 2024-2025 governance calendar, Special Education Week proclamation and written reports from officers.