I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you my goals for my term as president of the New Jersey School Boards Association.
My first goal is what I refer to as my “roadshow.” I will endeavor to visit all 21 counties with a message to ”learn, network and eat.”
At county meetings, you can take advantage of meaningful professional development opportunities. Programs on school security, school finance, legislation, student mental health challenges, social media and more allow us to become better, more effective board members.
These county meetings also give us the chance to network and learn from each other. Through networking, we can hear about exciting new initiatives happening in other districts – things that may make our own schools stronger.
Now, more than ever, we need member engagement, so I also want to challenge you to not only regularly attend county meetings but to bring someone new. Sometimes board members simply don’t know what NJSBA has to offer.
The last message of my roadshow is to eat!
As someone of Italian heritage, food is important to me, and I’m a great believer in breaking bread. Sharing a meal breaks down barriers and allows us to get to know each other better and hopefully to understand each other’s perspective.
My second goal is getting back to basics. Over the past year, it’s become clear to me that board members want the Association to refocus on board member services.
Dr. Timothy Purnell, our executive director and CEO, and the NJSBA staff have already made great strides in this area. In a span of several months, the Association has introduced NJSBA Connection, an online networking and discussion platform; introduced a new members-only online data service, the Negotiations Data Portal, which provides comparative settlement information for use by boards of education in negotiations with their employee unions; delivered meaningful insights through the “Board President’s Corner” feature in School Board Notes and so much more. The Association has also added several new staff members to further support board members.
My third goal is to celebrate the Association. During my 17 years of being a school board member, the challenges facing local school districts have become increasingly complex. I have consistently found the training, cost-saving opportunities and support services available from NJSBA to be invaluable to me and my board.
The list of NJSBA services and programs that benefit boards are too extensive to list here, but they include cooperative purchasing and savings opportunities, such as our Alliance for Competitive Energy Services, the TEC/Cooperative Pricing System, our partnership with E-Rate Consulting and our Grants Support Program in partnership with the Grants Office.
Moreover, each year, NJSBA provides more than 100 training, information and student-focused programs through the state’s 21 county school boards associations, covering all costs of county association training programs, including meals and facilities, enabling local school board members to attend these meetings at no charge. The Association continues to fight for the interests of local school boards at the state and federal levels, with a strong emphasis on preserving local decision-making and control.
Thank you for this opportunity to share my goals. I am deeply honored to serve as your president, and I look forward to doing all I can to help you tackle challenges to advance the achievement of all children.