NSBA held our first in-person national annual conference in three years in April in San Diego. It was my first conference as executive director and CEO of NSBA. I had the immense pleasure of meeting and speaking with many of you.

Being back together was energizing, and it was inspiring to see so many school board leaders dedicated to learning more about how to best serve their students, parents, and communities.

Annual Conference is when our Delegate Assembly meets. For those unfamiliar with the term, the Delegate Assembly (DA) is NSBA’s legislature. It adopts its own rules of procedure, appoints committees, and hears and acts upon reports. NSBA’s board president and executive director serve as president and secretary of the assembly.

As the plenary governing body, DA authorizes the NSBA board of directors to function as the policy-making body of NSBA in the period between meetings. In discharging that responsibility, the board of directors must act consistently with the NSBA Constitution and the resolutions enacted by DA.

This year, DA adopted key resolutions that will guide our work at NSBA. We will continue to stress our fundamental belief in local control and highlight the importance of parental partnerships in a child’s education. According to DA, “NSBA believes that parents and guardians are essential partners in the education of their children, and a crucial component in local governance of public schools. Effective public school boards engage, consult, and respond to families’ concerns in school policies, programs, and curriculum.”

DA added “nonpartisan” to the description of NSBA’s work in our Constitution. In doing so, it reaffirmed NSBA’s commitment to nonpartisanship, because partisanship has no place in the education of children.

NSBA will focus on the common challenges facing all school boards, whether they reside in our largest cities or our most remote rural areasIncluded among these challenges are:

  • Providing support for historically disadvantaged students.
  • Increasing broadband access and closing the homework gap.
  • Ensuring that each classroom is staffed with a highly qualified teacher.
  • Providing support for students with disabilities and mental health needs.
  • Addressing learning loss because of the pandemic.

It is in these areas where NSBA can coordinate, facilitate, and implement a united, nonpartisan national movement in pursuit of equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership.

DA also adopted a new belief statement denouncing hate speech, urging districts to actively respond to incidents and to foster school climates where differences are appreciated.

Lastly, it elected new officers and directors to the NSBA Board of Directors, and installed Frank Henderson Jr. as the 2022-23 NSBA President.

We have our work cut out for us. For 80 years, NSBA has been a voice for education and a source of professional learning for board members. Our history and our future are about facing common challenges, whether you’re a school board member in Baltimore or in rural Kansas.

I believe in the power of democratically elected school boards and locally elected officials to change the lives of children and the course of our future. That’s why I’m here. And I’m sure that’s why you are here, too.

John Heim is the executive director and CEO of NSBA.


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