What Does a School Board Member Do?/Running for the School Board

Have you ever thought of running for the school board, but decided against it because you really did not know what it entailed? I can think of a number of people who at one time or another expressed interest but then shied away because of the unknown.

The most frequently asked question is, “Is it time-consuming?” The answer is “yes and no”. Although we are scheduled to meet twice a month, we may need to meet more often depending on the circumstances of what is required of us at the time. All members sit on various committees as well, but most of them meet just once a month. The reading of materials is the most instrumental part of being a good board member. Coming prepared to the meetings is essential.

The knowledge that you will gain, understanding how the District operates, appreciation for the entire staff, and the developing of collaborative relationships, is just a fraction of what you can gain by becoming a school board member. My goal here is to inform you of what we do to encourage you to run if you are interested.

What Does a School Board Member Do?

These are challenging times for public education. School boards are seeking men and women who find excitement and satisfaction in confronting tough challenges and working collegially to overcome them.

The board of education is a uniquely American institution. It keeps the country’s public schools flexible and responsive to the needs of their local communities. A member of a board of education in New York State takes on one of the most important responsibilities that can be assigned to any citizen: helping to plan the education of the community’s youth.

As a school board member you hold positions as:

  • An individual school board member
  • A member of the district governance team composed of school board members and the superintendent
  • A member of a board made of other members

The Board focuses on ENDS – vision, goals, and policy

What? Why? How Well? How Much?

The Superintendent (as CEO) focuses on MEANS – objectives, plans, actions, recommendations

How? When? Where? By Whom?
In other words, the board oversees the education of students and is responsible for school district operations, but does not directly run the district’s day-to-day operations.

What are my roles and responsibilities?

Your major roles as board member are:

  • Representative – of the entire community
  • Steward – of the district’s resources
  •  Leader – of the district
  • Advocate – for public education

To represent well, to fulfill public trust, to lead…

Your major board responsibilities are:

  • Set the District’s Direction – drawing upon the community, the board describes a shared vision, and established goals, standards and strategy to transform vision into reality.
  • Ensure Alignment – of strategy, resources, policies, programs, and processes with district goals
  • Assess & Account for Progress – using comprehensive data, thorough deliberation, and open communication
  • Continuously Improve – the district – accentuating and reinforcing the positive, and correcting
    the negative