In May, I had the honor of taking the oath of office as the president of the New Jersey School Boards Association.

Let me share with School Leader readers the simple message that I gave to the representatives to the May 18 Delegate Assembly: “I thank you for your support, and I pledge to continue NJSBA’s focus on excellence in the training, resources and services it provides to the state’s nearly 5,000 board members and charter school trustees.”

Since I first became a local school board member in 1999, I have relied on NJSBA’s courses, field service staff, and informational resources to help me tackle the challenges of serving on a board. I have also been impressed with the Association’s advocacy on behalf of the state’s school boards and public schools.

Over the last several years, NJSBA has increased the services and programs that are available to board members.

  • The Association is a founding partner in the Sustainable Jersey for Schools and Future Ready Schools–NJ certification programs.
  • We began a cooperative-buying technology service that reduces not only costs, but also administrative time and effort.
  • Our Grants Support services help districts access additional financial resources.
  • Our educator-in-residence provides informational resources to boards on educational topics.
  • Our STEAM and sustainability services provide valuable consultation and training to school board members and district staff.
  • NJSBA’s unique partnership with the U.S. Army not only enables school districts integrate STEAM education across the curriculum, but has also resulted in the successful STEAM Tank Challenge, which this year is engaging over 2,000 students in projects that tap their knowledge, creativity and problem-solving skills.

Through the work of task forces of school leaders and content experts, NJSBA has completed impressive studies on school security, student achievement, educational opportunities for the non-college-bound learner, health and wellness, and special education. Other research projects have addressed underfunded state and federal mandates, impediments to school district regionalization, the state’s accountability regulations, and the impact of the superintendent salary cap. Later this summer, NJSBA will issue its latest report, on mental health services in the public schools, “Building a Foundation for Hope.”
Meanwhile, NJSBA’s flagship training conference, Workshop, continues to grow.

Whether it involves training, direct services or advocacy, our NJSBA’s work is based on a singular mission: the advancement of student achievement through effective local school board governance. I am committed to continuing our progress.

NJSBA’s derives its strength from its people. That includes not only its stellar staff, but the outstanding school board members I meet at county association meetings and state and regional programs. I continue to be impressed by the willingness of board members to give generously of their time and talents to benefit the students of their communities and the state of New Jersey.

I look forward to working with all of you in the next two years, and I thank you for your support. There is not a doubt in my mind that, together, we will do great things for New Jersey’s public schools.