The National School Boards Association (NSBA) Board of Directors unanimously selected Thomas J. Gentzel to be the next NSBA executive director late last week. Gentzel is the executive director of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA).
“I am honored to lead NSBA at such an important time for the organization and for public education,” said Gentzel. “I am deeply committed to community ownership of public schools, which is the essence of school board governance. We will build on a strong foundation, taking an active role in shaping education policy and ensuring a quality education for all children in America.”
In his current role at PSBA, Gentzel represents and serves more than 5,000 school directors, administrators, and other officials from school entities throughout Pennsylvania. He joined the PSBA staff in 1980 as a lobbyist and, five years later, was promoted to head the organization’s Office of Governmental and Member Relations–a position he held until being promoted to Executive Director in 2001. He is also the Immediate Past Chair of NSBA’s Organization of State Association Executive Directors. Before joining PSBA, he served as the county administrator for Pennsylvania’s Centre County Board of Commissioners and, later, as Assistant Executive Director of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania.
In addition, Gentzel has served as Vice President at Large for the National School Public Relations Association and as a member of the Outreach Advisory Board for The Pennsylvania State University. He was appointed by Gov. Tom Ridge and reappointed twice by Gov. Edward Rendell to the State Advisory Panel on Special Education. In 2009 he was named by Rendell to the Pennsylvania Early Learning Council. He previously chaired the Pennsylvania Coalition for Public Education and was founder and coordinator of the Alliance for a School Aid Partnership.
NSBA President C. Ed Massey noted that NSBA’s search committee had undertaken a comprehensive selection process to choose Gentzel, who received the committee’s unanimous recommendation before the board’s vote.
NSBA’s Executive Director reports directly to the organization’s Board of Directors and is responsible for guiding the development and implementation of the strategic plan, programs, policies, and practices of the association. The Executive Director is responsible for the management and development of nearly 100 employees and an annual budget of more than $20 million.
NSBA’s current Executive Director Anne L. Bryant said, “Tom Gentzel brings extraordinary insight into NSBA. He will not only have 100 percent support from our state associations across the nation, he has the vision for the leadership role of school boards and school board governance in public education.”
Gentzel will begin his new role on December 1. Bryant is retiring at the end of this month after more than 16 years as Executive Director. Joseph S. Villani, NSBA’s Deputy Executive Director & Chief Operations Officer, will serve as Interim Executive Director from Oct. 1 to Nov. 30, 2012.