It is easy for elected officials to get off track and respond in the moment or to what is expedient. Because of that, ever since I was sworn in to the board in 2010, I have used a set of “guiding principles” that keep me focused on being the most effective school member I can be:
- I will represent everyone who lives in the district, not just the students.
- I believe board members have a fiduciary duty to spend your tax dollars wisely. Before joining the board and continuing as a board member, I pushed the district to apply a business model to the non-educational operations of the district. We are gratified that this approach has saved the district significant funds which have been used to support educational activities.
- I believe the board must establish the district’s vision – the board outlines policy. The board must then hire the superintendent and treasurer to execute district policy. The Board also must oversee, but not micromanage, district operations.
- The board must work with the administration and the business community to ensure the district provides our students with the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in a challenging job market. In today’s rapidly-changing world, school districts much be able to adapt and provide students with the skills they need to succeed in college and/or their career. Providing more career exploration, both in the classroom and opportunities extracurricular, is more important than ever as we help students identify their interests and talents.
- The board and administration must work with the state to advocate for our district and public education in general. For a number of years, I have been talking with the Assistant Governor’s office and state representatives to identify ways to address unfunded mandates. This is an ongoing process, a long-term endeavor, but one I believe is important to the long-term health of Ohio public school districts.
Photo by Meg Krsacok, courtesy of the Milford Schools Facebook page