Articles in the Announcements category

NSBA caucus chair receives national school board award

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) congratulates Tawana Lynn Keels, who was named the 2013 School Board Member of the Year Award by the National Alliance of Black School Educators. The award was given at the group’s annual conference in Detroit.

Keels is the chair of NSBA’s National Black Caucus of School Board Members (NBC), a national membership organization dedicated to meeting and addressing the educational needs of African-American students. Keels is also the President of the Princeton City School’s Board of Education in Ohio, where she has served since 1996, and a member of the Board of Directors of Great Oaks Institute of Technology and Career Development.

Joetta Sack-Min|November 19th, 2013|Categories: Announcements, Board governance|Tags: , , |

NSBA promotes new vision statement for future of public schools

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) has unveiled a new vision statement, “elevator speech,” and guiding principles, important aspects of a unified framework that helps education leaders become better advocates and boosts NSBA’s presence as a leading advocate for public education and school board governance.

A School Board Vision for Public Education

NSBA unveils ” A School Board Vision for Public Education”

The documents were written by NSBA’s Board of Directors to help NSBA members as well as members of the general public advocate effectively for public education.

The Board-approved unified framework aims to build NSBA’s ‘army of advocates’ and influence key federal legislative issues, NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel said in a video showcasing the new documents.

“School boards are different than any other player in the education community,” Gentzel said. “We are not a special interest, our local school board members are elected officials and they have a responsibility to stand up in the community and say ‘here’s what we think needs to happen.’”

Advocates can use the statement and principles in their messages to Congress and the public, as well as to aggressively pursue NSBA’s federal agenda, deal with an emerging environment in Congress, address critical priorities in education and school governance, and promote key strengths of NSBA.

A comprehensive statement entitled “A School Board Vision for Public Education,” lays out the vision and results that public schools should achieve. Those include accountability for the success of each child, closing the achievement gap, continuously meeting high expectations for student achievement and community satisfaction, and providing a safe learning environment that focuses on individualized instruction and protecting the civil rights of each child.

To do this, public schools need capacity to provide effective teachers, technology, and other resources; the necessary funding, research, and technical assistance to meet the educational demands of a dynamic world; active participation by parents and the community; locally elected school boards who work with the community and educators; and state and federal lawmakers who are committed to public education and the goals of their local schools.

A concise “elevator speech” highlights key tenets of the larger NSBA vision statement. NSBA also is printing pocket-size laminate cards for distribution at upcoming meetings and events.

The final part of the unified framework, “Guiding Principles for Implementation,” frames the development of specific resolutions in three key areas: Public Education, Local School Board Governance, and Equity and Excellence in Education.

Watch the video:

Joetta Sack-Min|November 7th, 2013|Categories: Announcements, Board governance, Leadership, Legislative advocacy, School Boards, School Reform|Tags: , , , |

NSBA board member Kevin Ciak honored by New Jersey school boards

The New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA) has announced Kevin E. Ciak the New Jersey Board of Education Member of the Year for 2013. Ciak is a 19-year member of the Sayreville Board of Education, who was elected to his first term the year after he graduated from the district’s high school.Ciak_ 2013-2014_Ciak

Ciak is also a Northeast Region delegate to the National School Boards Association (NSBA) Board of Directors and an appointee to the NSBA Executive Committee.

“Kevin has been an incredible school board member in the state of New Jersey for almost two decades,” said John Bulina, NJSBA president. “His dedication to students has been recognized at the regional and national levels. He has been a mentor and a good friend to me and to many of the officers of the New Jersey School Boards Association.”

Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, NJSBA executive director, echoed Bulina’s sentiments. “Kevin embodies all the best qualities of school board members; he has devoted himself to the students in his district, while also advocating for public education at the county, state and federal levels. Without doubt, Kevin Ciak is the quintessential advocate for educational excellence. He truly cares about the quality of the education that our young people receive. I offer my sincere congratulations on this honor.”

Ciak, who was characterized by school board officials in Sayreville and Middlesex County as the “voice of reason,” will be presented with the award at Workshop 2013 in Atlantic City.

“He is that leader who garners respect, as Kevin gives respect and appreciation to others. He builds consensus,” said Middlesex County School Boards Association President Catherine Sucher Greeley, a school board member in nearby Piscataway, who nominated Ciak. “He is a problem solver: The calm in a storm, whether a heated discussion or a stalemate.”

Sayreville Board President Michael Macagnone described Ciak as a board member who steps forward to lead discussion on issues ranging from elementary re-districting to policy updating.

“Kevin has continually been the one who keeps the board focused on the issue,” Macagnone said. “(He) exudes confidence and is the perfect example of what a board member should be –intelligent, dedicated, honest and a team player.”

Ciak was elected to the Sayreville board in 1994, the year after graduating from Sayreville War Memorial High School. Elected seven times, Ciak is currently vice president of Sayreville’s board, and previously spent six years as board president. As well as serving as NJSBA president from 2006 to 2008, he has been on the NJSBA Legislative, Nominating, Finance, Executive, and numerous other committees, and is actively involved in the Middlesex County School Boards Association.

Ciak said he first got interested in public service as a high school junior, when he was selected for American Legion Jersey Boy’s State, a weeklong program on government and politics, where students run for elected office. “I had a great time and learned a lot. I thought, ‘what can I do with this?’ I decided that August to attend my first school board meeting,” Ciak recalled.

A year later, while a freshman at Rutgers University, he ran for the Sayreville board and won.

Ciak has published articles and been interviewed on television about school board leadership. He is president of the Middlesex County Arts and Education Council, and a past member of the Sayreville Human Relations Commission.

Earlier this year he traveled to Finland with the National School Boards Association, at his own expense, to study that nation’s well-regarded public schools.

Ciak, who holds a degree in electrical engineering and works in global-supply-chain finance, called the School Board Member of the Year award a “huge honor.”

“To have my own peers select me is truly an honor,” he said.

While Ciak said public schools face many more demands than when he began nearly 20 years ago, he said he plans to continue serving.

“I really love the profession. I love working with kids, working with my fellow board members,” he said. “Every day, you never know what new problem you’re going to be dealt. Even after 20 years on the board, I can’t say I’ve seen it all.

“It’s a challenge every single day,” he said.

Given annually since 2005, the School Board Member of the Year award honors an individual board member who makes significant contributions; exemplifies leadership in the field of education with a strong commitment to the children of New Jersey; demonstrates a strong commitment to his or her personal and professional development as a board member; and shows active involvement in school governance at the local, county and state levels.

Nominations for the honor were judged by an independent panel from the Pennsylvania School Boards Association.

Staff|October 23rd, 2013|Categories: Announcements, Board governance, NSBA Recognition Programs, State School Boards Associations|Tags: , |

Registration opens for NSBA’s 2014 Annual Conference in New Orleans

Update: Due to the huge demand for Annual Conference registration, we are experiencing difficulties relating to high volume.  We apologize for the inconvenience.  Please continue to check back often.

Housing and registration opens on Oct. 23 at 9 a.m. EDT for the National School Boards Association (NSBA) 74th Annual Conference, April 5-7, 2014 in New Orleans. This year’s conference registration again features a streamlined process to make the registration experience easier than ever.

Join thousands of fellow board members and administrators in New Orleans, and gain valuable knowledge and information in five key areas — leadership, advocacy, technology + learning, urban school issues, and school law. The conference features more than 200 programming sessions, workshops, speakers, site visits and exhibitors with cutting-edge content, best practices, and the freshest ideas to support student achievement.

This year NSBA is pleased to have two distinguished keynote speakers, Thomas L. Friedman and Sir Ken Robinson. Friedman, author of “The World is Flat” and “That Used to be Us,” is a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner and a columnist for the New York Times.  Robinson is an internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity, innovation, and human resources in education and business. He works with government and education systems in Europe, Asia, and the U.S., as well as international agencies and Fortune 500 companies. He frequently speaks on the lessons he has learned through his work and research. A new April 7 morning session will include inspirational talks by author Nikhil Goyal and educator Angela Maiers.

Check the Annual Conference website frequently for more announcements and complete information on housing, registration, and schedules of events.


Joetta Sack-Min|October 23rd, 2013|Categories: Announcements, NSBA Annual Conference 2014, Uncategorized|Tags: , |

COSA annual conference examines diversity, school law issues

Special education, employment law, school safety and diversity are the hot topics this week at the National School Boards Associations’ (NSBA) Council of School Attorneys’ (COSA) annual School Law Practice Seminar in Nashville, Tenn.

“COSA’s fall seminar is our chance as attorneys to dig deep into the weeds of school law issues facing our public school clients, to discuss approaches and solutions with colleagues, and to get an update on the national legal advocacy work of the National School Boards Association,” said Allison Schafer, the 2013-14 COSA Chair and Legal Counsel for the North Carolina School Boards Association.

In the opening discussion, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools Superintendent Jesse Register will discuss his plans to move beyond desegregation litigation to a groundbreaking diversity management plan. The accompanying panel will also discuss the broader issue of diversity in school settings after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin as well as upcoming cases for the 2013-14 term.

Other COSA sessions will be led by experienced school attorneys on relevant issues such as “Student Privacy Concerns in the Cloud Computing Era,” “Responding to the EEOC’s Guidance on Criminal Background Checks,” “the NSBA Legal Advocacy Agenda,” and “Adventures in Ethics.”

Joetta Sack-Min|October 9th, 2013|Categories: Announcements, Board governance, Conferences and Events, Council of School Attorneys, School Law, School Security|Tags: , |

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools receives NSBA’s 2013 Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence

Minnie Forte-Brown, Chair of the Council of Urban Boards of Education, with Charlotte-Mecklenburg school leaders

Minnie Forte-Brown, Chair of the Council of Urban Boards of Education, with leaders of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

North Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is the 2013 recipient of the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has increased student test scores, hit a new high in the graduation rate, and the school board has raised its standing with the public by engaging the community in strategic decisions that will influence the school system’s future.

“School leaders for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools are truly meeting the challenge to increase student success and achievement in a diverse and large school district,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “The National School Boards Association is pleased to honor the Board of Education for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools with the Council of Urban Boards of Education Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence for all their accomplishments.”

The announcement was made during the Saturday luncheon at the CUBE Annual Conference being held this weekend in San Antonio. The CUBE Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence is supported by NSBA’s corporate partner, Sodexo, which has graciously underwritten the awards ceremony.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is a 141,000-student school system, the nation’s 18th largest. Since 2008, student test scores have risen on most measures, with scores for third through eighth graders on state end-of-grade exams rising by 15 percentage points or more in English and math. In science, proficiency rates are up by 34 points.
Some of the biggest gains have been among minority and economically disadvantaged students—a welcome reward for the innovative and aggressive efforts that the school board and superintendent have put into closing the racial and economic achievement gap. Another sign of their progress is the 81 percent high school graduation rate, which has risen 15 points over the past five years.

“We are very honored to receive this award on behalf of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools,” said Mary T. McCray, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ Board chairperson. “All of us on the Board are dedicated to improving the education and the lives of our students. This award recognizes the hard work we’ve done as a Board, and as a district, to achieve that mission and we are grateful to the Council of Urban Boards of Education for this recognition.”
This is the 10th annual CUBE Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence and the first time a North Carolina school district has received the award.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools was selected by an independent judging panel based on materials submitted by the school district, independent follow-up research, and information provided by the district’s state school boards association.

The judges selected the winner based on the following four criteria: Excellence in school board governance; building civic capacity; closing the achievement gap—equity in education; and demonstrated success of academic excellence.

“Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has done an exceptional job at developing a strategic plan with community involvement and has focused on implementing that plan to continuously improve student achievement,” said Dr. Ed Dunlap, Jr. Executive Director of the North Carolina School Boards Association. “By receiving the Council of Urban Boards of Education Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will serve as a successful governance model for excellence in our state and for urban school districts across the country.”

The Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) is NSBA’s program supporting urban school boards and fostering effective leadership for excellence and equity in public education, with a specific focus on underrepresented students. CUBE provides educational opportunities that engage urban school districts and district leaders, working through their state school boards association, while addressing challenges in urban centers. CUBE represents nearly 100 urban school districts in 35 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The districts that comprise CUBE educate nearly 7.5 million students in over 12,000 schools, with a collective budget of approximately $99 billion.

For more information on CUBE, the award, and past winners, please visit

Alexis Rice|October 5th, 2013|Categories: Announcements, CUBE, CUBE Annual Conference2013, Leadership, School Boards|Tags: , , , |

Former Baltimore City school board leader honored with 2013 Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award

2013 Mays Award

Jerrelle Francois receives the 2013 Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award

The National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) has honored Jerrelle Francois, a former board of education member from Maryland’s Baltimore City Public Schools, with the 2013 Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award.

Francois, who has more than a half century of service in education, received the award October 5 at the 2013 CUBE Annual Conference in San Antonio. The 2013 Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award is supported by NSBA’s corporate partner, Sodexo, which has graciously underwritten the awards ceremony.

“The Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award honors school board leaders who work tirelessly to improve urban education,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “Jerrelle Francois’s leadership has made a difference in the education of thousands of students who have attended Baltimore City Public Schools. We appreciate her dedication to the students, the school board, and the community.”

Baltimore City Public Schools has 85,000 students, 10,000 employees, and 195 schools.

Francois was appointed to the Baltimore school board in 2004 and served until 2013. One of Francois’s proudest accomplishments was her work with the school board on developing a new 10-year strategic plan which launched an aggressive reform effort to ensure that all students graduate from high school ready for college, career training, and life success in the 21st century. The Baltimore City school district received the 2010 CUBE Annual Award for Urban Education Excellence.

During her board tenure, Francois was a champion for promoting improved communications with parents and the community. Francois was instrumental in establishing the school system’s Office of Partnerships, Communications, and Community Engagement.

“I am honored to receive the Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award and proud of my nine years of school board service to Baltimore City Public Schools,” said Jerrelle Francois. “I know how important school board members are in shaping the direction of a successful school system that is advancing student achievement for all students.”

Over the years, Francois has experienced the challenges of public education from all angles—as teacher, principal, assistant superintendent, university instructor, and most recently as an education consultant at Learn It Systems.

“Jerrelle Francois’s school board service demonstrates outstanding leadership and a strong vision for improving education for students in Baltimore,” said Frances Hughes Glendening, Executive Director of the Maryland Association of Boards of Education. “Baltimore City Public Schools is a true urban district success story, proving that solid leadership at the board level results in advancing student achievement.”

The Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award is given to individuals who demonstrate a long-standing commitment to the educational needs of urban schoolchildren through school board service. Benjamin Elijah Mays, whom the award honors, was a teacher, minister, author, and civil rights activist who served as president of Morehouse College and the Atlanta school board from 1970 to 1981.

The Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) is NSBA’s program supporting urban school boards and fostering effective leadership for excellence and equity in public education, with a specific focus on underrepresented students. CUBE provides educational opportunities that engage urban school districts and district leaders, working through their state school boards association, while addressing challenges in urban centers. CUBE represents nearly 100 urban school districts in 35 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The districts that comprise CUBE educate nearly 7.5 million students in over 12,000 schools, with a collective budget of approximately $99 billion.

For more information about CUBE and the Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award, please visit

Alexis Rice|October 5th, 2013|Categories: Announcements, CUBE, CUBE Annual Conference2013, School Boards, State School Boards Associations, Urban Schools|Tags: , , , |

Missouri businessman, MSBA announce $1 million incentive for Baldrige school district award

A Missouri couple will donate $1 million to the first public school district in their state that can win a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, which recognizes organizations for achieving performance excellence. The award will be announced at the Missouri School Boards’ Association (MSBA) conference this weekend.

Larry Potterfield said he and his wife, Brenda Potterfield, are making the donation because they want to help improve public education in Missouri. “This is for the children,” he said. “We want to impact the educational system, to make the school districts more accountable, to better prepare and educate the next generation so that our nation can continue to compete in the global marketplace.”

The gift challenge will reinforce current efforts for measurable educational improvements among Missouri’s 520 school districts as they strive to achieve “role model status,” as defined by the Baldrige Education Criteria for Performance Excellence. Each year, the President of the United States honors American organizations in business, health care, education, non-profit, and government that win a Baldrige Award, the nation’s only award for performance excellence.

Anne L. Bryant, who sits on the board of the Baldrige Foundation and is a former executive director of the National School Boards Association, said that Larry and Brenda Potterfield’s million dollar challenge has called upon the entire state of Missouri to ”show the way” by encouraging every school district across the state to consider taking up the Baldrige quality and excellence program.

“Like all Baldrige Award winners, a school district that goes through the process is demonstrating to its students, faculty, staff, parents and entire community that it wants to be the best,” Bryant said. “I watched my neighboring district, The Montgomery County Public Schools (MD) go through the process and reach the national award with such pride and excitement. It reinforced to the community and the entire state that this public school district could be an example for all.”

Moreover, Bryant said that the Baldrige community is “thrilled by the Potterfield’s generosity but, even more importantly, by their foresight to focus on education…which indeed is the cornerstone of a state’s economy and future.

The $1 million gift will be stewarded by the Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award until it is awarded.

“The million dollar unrestricted gift will be an obvious benefit to the school district that demonstrates outstanding performance,” said Potterfield, who is CEO of Midway USA, a company that sells hunting and gun supplies. “The school district will receive tremendous recognition for winning the Baldrige Award. Most importantly, the winner will have to demonstrate an improvement in educational outcomes because the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence are results-driven.”

The Potterfields’ official announcement will be made at the 2013 MSBA Annual Conference on Oct. 5, 2013. The conference is held in cooperation with the Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA).

“We’re delighted Larry and Brenda Potterfield chose the MSBA Annual Conference to announce their gift,” said Dr. Carter Ward, the MSBA executive director. “MSBA strongly supports school districts interested in utilizing the Baldrige Criteria to create a culture of continuous improvement ultimately aimed at providing the finest possible education for the students in our public schools.”

Dr. P. George Benson, chair of the Board of Directors of the Baldrige Foundation, called it “gratifying” for the Potterfields to link their donation to the Baldrige National Award for Performance Excellence.

“It demonstrates the faith and confidence that Larry and Brenda Potterfield have in the Baldrige Program,” Dr. Benson said. “For 25 years, we helped organizations in the public and private sectors reach their peak level of effectiveness, and honored the very best with a Baldrige Award. With their generous donation, the Potterfields are challenging Missouri school districts to provide a better education to their students.”

School districts must reach the highest level in the Missouri Quality Award, the state Baldrige-based program, to apply to the National Baldrige Performance Excellence Award Program. School districts will need to demonstrate performance results that are national benchmarks and better than their peer groups at comparably-sized school districts across the country. In so doing, they will be improving their budget and operations, as well as the education they provide in the classrooms.

“Schools and districts interested in pursuing a Baldrige award can access resources through the recently launched Missouri Network for Educational Improvement (MNEI),” says Daniel L. Clay, dean of the University of the Missouri College of Education. “The network will help schools and districts strategically coordinate continuous improvement efforts.”  The MNEI is led by the Hook Center at the University of Missouri College of Education, in partnership with MSBA, MASA and districts around the state.


Joetta Sack-Min|October 4th, 2013|Categories: Announcements, Board governance, Educational Research, School Board News, School Boards, School Climate, School District Reorganization, School Reform, State School Boards Associations|Tags: , , , , |

NSBA mourns the loss of Oklahoma’s Dr. Jeffrey Mills

Dr. Jeffrey Mills

Dr. Jeffrey Mills

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is mourning the loss of Dr. Jeffrey Mills, the Executive Director of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association (OSSBA), who passed away on Sept. 23, 2013.

“Dr. Jeffrey Mills was such a strong education leader in Oklahoma and very dedicated to advancing public education through local school board leadership,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel.

Mills had been the OSSBA Executive Director since October 2008. With 527 school districts in Oklahoma, Mills enjoyed the opportunity to train, represent, and serve the local school boards throughout the state.

Mills, who began his K-12 career as a teacher for Oklahoma’s Snyder Public Schools, also worked as a coach and as an elementary and high school principal. Mills was an experienced school administrator, previously serving as the superintendent for Oklahoma’s Woodward, El Reno, and Leedey Public Schools.
Memorials may be given to the El Reno School Foundation, Northwestern Oklahoma State Alumni Association, or the Oklahoma State School Board Association Public School Foundation.

Alexis Rice|September 25th, 2013|Categories: Announcements, School Boards|Tags: , , , |

NSBA mourns the passing of Gene Broderson

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is mourning the death of Gene Broderson, the Assistant Executive Director for State Association Partnership Programs, on Sept. 16.

Broderson_2013Broderson had been with NSBA since 2005, overseeing NSBA’s National Affiliate and Technology Leadership Network programs, which serve many of the nation’s leading school systems.  More recently, he was leading efforts to develop several new services in partnership with state school boards associations, including the BuyBoard National Purchasing Cooperative, and USBAflex, which provides cost-effective flexible spending account options for school systems.

“Gene had exceptional talents in a range of fields from business to digital media, and teaching,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “We will miss the energy and enthusiasm he brought to every project.”

Prior to his work at NSBA, Broderson was the Director of Education for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and was responsible for helping public television stations improve and enhance their educational offerings for children, teachers, and adult learners. He also worked for CALIBRE Systems, Inc., a government contractor that acquired Gene’s company, Training Media Incorporated, in 1999. Training Media produced award winning training material for associations. He also had worked as a teacher in Virginia and New York.

Memorial contributions to honor Broderson can be made to Save the Children, National Wildlife Federation or the American Cancer Society. The Washington Post also published an obituary from Broderson’s family.

Joetta Sack-Min|September 18th, 2013|Categories: Announcements|Tags: , |
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