Each year, school districts across the country take the month of January to recognize the work and dedication of school board trustees.
In school districts in Texas, and most other districts across the country, trustees serve in elected volunteer positions. School board trustees are selfless individuals who take time away from their professional and family commitments to serve their community. After spending months running a campaign to gain enough support from voters to win their election, trustees then spend countless hours studying, researching and reading over information about the district, all while working to ensure students have the opportunity to learn and grow – all for no salary. That’s why it’s important to take the time to recognize these public servants during school board appreciation month.
Trustees are elected to establish policies that provide a governance framework for their district. While they don’t manage the day-to-day operations of a school district, they do perform governance duties, such as setting the direction, goals and overall vision for the district to achieve. Trustees also serve an important role in acting as a bridge between the community and the district.
Key responsibilities of an elected school board include:
- Hiring and evaluating the superintendent. In most districts, the superintendent is the only district employee reporting directly to the Board of Trustees. This ensures an appropriate line separating management and governance responsibilities.
- Setting clear expectations by establishing a strategic plan and creating a vision and goals for the district.
- Adopting an annual district budget in alignment with the adopted vision and goals for the district.
- Monitoring progress toward the goals and holding the superintendent accountable for that progress.
- Engaging the community and communicating the district’s vision and successes.
Especially now, through unprecedented challenges in public education, it’s paramount to take time to recognize your local elected school board trustees. You can recognize them by posting a positive message on social media, sending them an email to thank them for their service, or by attending your school board meeting to speak during the public comment period. A highly effective school board is critical to ensuring strong schools, effective teaching and learning, and student success.