I have always believed that local school boards could greatly benefit from a teacher’s voice. The thing is, I always imagined the voice coming from other teachers. I never considered that the voice might belong to me, but here I am officially announcing that I am running for a seat on the Redwater ISD Board of Trustees.
As of this afternoon, I am not running against anyone. I’m running in the place of a community member who, after devoting many years of service to the district, has decided not to run for another term. There are still, however, a couple of days left in the registration window, so the race may not stay uncontested.
No matter the number of candidates on the ballot, I know what I want to accomplish as a trustee. I want to build a bridge between the classroom and the boardroom by stressing the community’s shared vision and beliefs.
A few years back, the Redwater community gathered its community and business leaders, parents and guardians, students, school administrators, trustees, and faculty and staff to develop a shared vision and set of beliefs that would guide the governance of the district. The process wasn’t easy, but the end result was pretty incredible. We exited the process with the following vision: to develop an educational system and community committed to the relentless pursuit of quality and excellence, and we topped off the vision with a set of guiding beliefs:
- We believe an expectation of quality and excellence for ALL must be projected throughout Redwater ISD and embraced by the community.
- We believe ALL stakeholders must collaborate to become a united, family-oriented learning community.
- We believe ALL stakeholders are accountable to provide a safe learning environment.
- We must strive to educate and prepare ALL students to meet the challenge of the 21st century.
What the Redwater community accomplished in those stakeholder meetings was no small feat, and it turns out that we were a few years ahead of the State in our task. In July of 2012, a couple of years after our collaborative endeavor, the State Board of Education (SBOE) revisited its Framework for School Board Development and revised it to instruct school boards to govern from the following five principles:
- Vision– The board ensures creation of a shared vision that promotes enhanced student achievement.
- Structure – The board provides guidance and direction for accomplishing the vision.
- Accountability – The board measures and communicates how well the vision is being accomplished.
- Advocacy – The board promotes the vision.
- Unity – The board works with the superintendent to lead the district toward the vision.
The full document can be read at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=2147489092
So the vision we adopted as a community is incredibly important to today’s education. It isn’t something to be filed away in a binder forever lost to future generations. It is a document that can bind us together in doing ALL we can to ensure our vision of excellence becomes a reality. The product of those meetings is a beacon that can remind us that we ALL must work together to grow our beliefs into convictions, our convictions into actions, and our actions into achievement. This shared vision is the very thing needed to build bridges across our whole educational system, including the one stretching between the classroom and the boardroom.
Therefore, if given the opportunity to serve on Redwater ISD’s Board of Trustees, I will treat our vision statement and core beliefs as unifying elements by which every deliberation, decision and action must be measured. In return, I would ask that you help me remember the heart of collaboration in which this vision was birthed.
UPDATE: As of Friday afternoon, the window for running closed, so… I’ll be taking my seat on the board in June!