Like many of you, I have always welcomed the arrival of fall for its sense of renewal and revitalization.
A similar feeling of transformation is underway this fall at NSBA. In conversations with colleagues throughout the organization, I have described this season as critical for reassessing goals, refocusing strategy, and enhancing our mission. Since June 1, when I officially joined this proud federation as executive director and CEO, my top priority has been listening to NSBA stakeholders about the needs and expectations of the organization.
Through hours of calls and engagement with leaders from nearly every state school boards association, NSBA’s board of directors, regional representatives, members of NSBA’s equity councils, and the Council of School Attorneys (COSA), I have heard the desire and expectations for innovation, leadership, and increased collaboration. The gravity expressed around these issues is loud and clear. NSBA staff and I are committed to meeting members’ needs, rectifying concerns, and quickly pivoting to better serve the federation.
Already, NSBA’s Equity and Member Services division has launched an all-new virtual Leadership Enrichment Series designed to advance organizational leadership concepts. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, we are transforming our trademark events to create even more meaningful virtual attendance experiences. In August, we held the first-ever online Delegate Assembly.
In September, we will transition the Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) Conference, and in October, the COSA School Law Practice Seminar, to virtual platforms designed to retain the networking and engagement features that are a hallmark of these conferences. Also, in September, NSBA’s Center for Safe Schools will host its inaugural School Safety Virtual Summit.
In Washington, D.C., NSBA’s Federal Advocacy department continues its highly regarded lobbying efforts to expand internet access and close the digital divide that impacts 16 million public schoolchildren. It also is working with Congressional representatives on both sides of the political aisle to increase desperately needed emergency relief funds for school districts during the pandemic.
In response to a growing number of requests, the Equity and Member Services team also is crafting programs and solutions to help state school boards associations better incorporate equity, inclusion, and diversity in their work.
It is fitting that NSBA is recommitting its partnership with, and on behalf of, its federation members during our 80th anniversary. We understand that the path forward must center on supporting, informing, and complementing the mission of NSBA’s members—the 49 state school boards associations and the U.S. territory of the Virgin Islands that comprise this federation. It is these members who, in turn, represent locally elected school board members who work to sustain the education of the nation’s 50.8 million public school students.
This leadership organization has a proud legacy on which to build and grow. I am excited to work with you to lead the federation forward to a new level of success and partnership. Supported by a talented, dedicated team, we are committed and focused on partnering with state school boards associations so that they thrive and empower local school boards and the children they represent.
In this season of renewal and revitalization, I hope that each state association member continues to see its mission and its work reflected in NSBA—your national organization.