As citizen leaders, school board members face complex and demanding challenges, yet few people fully understand the scope and far-reaching implications of board members’ responsibilities. We hope that members of the ADM community will recognize the vital contributions of these men and women and focus attention on the crucial role these elected public officials play in the education of our children. Their job is to establish a vision for the education program, design a structure to achieve that vision, ensure schools are accountable to the community and strongly advocate continuous improvement in student learning. That job entails an endless string of meetings and school functions to attend; reams of reports, agendas, proposals and other information to read and study; and a host of difficult decisions to make.

School board members come from all walks of life, yet they share a common goal – excellence and equity in public education. Although they may individually disagree on certain issues, their role as a board is to consistently strive toward that goal.

Board members contribute thousands of hours each year leading their districts. Whether they are crafting policies, hiring top-notch administrators, listening to staff and student concerns or recognizing outstanding programs, board members always keep their eyes on the goal of student achievement. The time spent in board meetings represents just a small fraction of the hours school board members spend leading in their districts. They also work hard at seminars and training sessions to keep abreast of the latest trends in educational leadership, are deeply involved in community activities and spend many hours in the schools and at extracurricular events. They are truly advocates for the children of our state.

In recognition of the dedicated service of Iowa school board members, May has been designated School Board Recognition Month by the Iowa Association of School Boards. This year’s theme is “School Boards Matter: Making a Difference for Iowa’s Students”. Please join us by saying “thanks” to our school board members Tim Canney, Kim Roby, Bart Banwart, Kelli Book, and Rod Collins, and recognizing their efforts throughout the year.