NSBA Updates: New Chief of Staff and new Advocacy Officer

A close-up photo shows a woman smiling at the camera. A close-up photograph shows a man wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera.

In July, NSBA welcomed the return of two familiar faces to new leadership positions.

Liya Amelga was announced as the association’s first-ever chief of staff. John Heim, NSBA’s executive director and CEO from November 2021 until June 2023, agreed to continue his service to the association as advocacy officer.

Amelga previously served as NSBA’s director of equity and member services from 2019-20, managing equity-centered educational programs and facilitating leadership development training. Prior to rejoining NSBA, Amelga was the managing director of strategy and operations at the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd), managing the overall operation of the foundation’s policy division. She also served as the special assistant to the Board of School Commissioners for Baltimore City Public Schools, where she was responsible for overseeing operational functions of the Board Office, including managing the process for adjudicating employee grievance appeals and ethics complaints to the board.

Before joining NSBA, Heim served as the executive director of the Kansas Association of School Boards, where, for 11 years, he worked closely with local boards of education on professional development, goal setting, financial stewardship, policy, advocacy, and other strategic issues to advance public education. Over his four-decade career in public education, Heim has worked as a teacher, principal, and superintendent to improve outcomes and opportunities for Kansas students and to position Kansas schools for success.

Learn more about Amelga and Heim at https://nsba.org/Senior-Leadership-Bios.

ASBJ earns silver and gold

NSBA’s American School Board Journal received two feature writing awards — a gold and a silver—during the 43rd annual EXCEL Awards in June. Presented by SIIA, the EXCEL Awards recognize excellence and leadership in association media, publishing, marketing, and communication.

“These editorial awards reinforce our responsibility as storytellers and fuel our motivation to shape a brighter, more informed world through the stories within districts across the nation,” said Renée B. Joe, NSBA’s Chief Marketing & Communications Officer and ASBJ Publisher.

Both cover stories were written by ASBJ Contributing Editor Glenn Cook. The June 2022 cover story, “Vital Connections” earned the gold award. It relates how the lack of broadband infrastructure in rural communities like Anadarko, Oklahoma, has exacerbated long-standing issues facing Native American students.

The silver award went to the December 2022 cover story, “Moving Forward.” It tells how the school community in Santa Fe, Texas, presses forward following a 2018 school shooting, guided by “a genuine desire and conscious effort to heal.”

A teenage boy stands with him arm around his mother in the hallway of his school A portrait shows a woman wearing a t-shirt featuring the logo of a high school sports team.

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