It takes many people to accomplish the work of the New Jersey School Boards Association, and I want to take a moment to recognize their efforts.

First, our Officers, who have just finished the first year of their two-year terms. I want to thank Don Webster Jr., immediate past president, Mike McClure, vice president for finance, Brandon Pugh, vice president for legislation/resolutions, and Christy Tighe, vice president for county activities. I could not ask for a better group of people to work with. I look forward to continuing our work to advance student achievement throughout this coming year.

Second, I want to recognize the NJSBA staff who are at the core of our association’s efforts to promote public education and advance student achievement. Without these hard-working, dedicated employees, we would not be the most effective school boards association in the country. Thank you one and all. I am consistently impressed by Executive Director Larry Feinsod’s vision for the Association, and by how the whole staff works tirelessly to provide our members training, resources and advocacy under Larry’s leadership.

This past year has been one of accomplishment. Our Task Force on Educational Opportunities for the Non-College Bound Learner is finalizing its report, which will be released soon. We look forward to providing an overview of the report in the next issue of School Leader.

Meanwhile, the NJSBA School Security Task Force is also completing its update of the report, “What Makes Schools Safe.” A group has been studying topics such as school security trends, physical security measures, cybersecurity, social media, school climate and communications. The task force plans to present its findings and recommendations on the all-important topic of student safety and security at Workshop 2018 in late October.

The NJSBA Equity Council has also begun its work. This group is examining the issue of education equity and will share research and best practices with the NJSBA membership. The Equity Council kicked off its first meeting with remarks and a presentation by Dr. Penelope Lattimer, director of the Rutgers Institute for Improving Student Achievement.

I am also pleased to report progress on one of our major goals for NJSBA: updating the Association’s technological infrastructure to serve the membership in the most efficient and productive manner possible. Our entire staff is also being trained in how best to use the new technology, including our videoconference capabilities.

NJSBA is always looking for members to serve on committees and task forces. We welcome the input and insights of our members. I urge interested local board members to contact me to learn how they can become more involved the work of their state association. I can be reached at [email protected]

Finally I plan to attend an association meeting in every county this year, where I will have the opportunity to discuss important issues in public education. I look forward to speaking with our membership at a county meeting this fall.

On behalf of all the NJSBA officers, I thank all of New Jersey’s local school board members for their commitment to improving educational opportunities for our students.