BoardBuzz is always happy to have the media on our side, and especially on the side of school board members. That’s why we couldn’t help but enjoy this article that came to us from the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer.
The reporter was doing a little digging into the school district’s attendance at NSBA’s Annual Conference earlier this month, and what he found was definitely educational.
Good training workshops can remind professionals why they do what they do and inject them with new ideas. Folks get too comfortable and too cynical and become predictable in their jobs when they never undergo training.
So, I don’t begrudge the nine members of the county school board and Superintendent Bill Harrison for taking a junket to Orlando, Fla., that must have been positively refreshing. I’m a degree or two less thrilled that the bill taxpayers footed came to $21,000, which seems expensive for 10 people.
To see what you and I paid for, I let my fingers do the walking over to the official Web site for the 2008 Annual Conference for the National School Boards Association. I was surprised to find that the presentations for many of the sessions were available for download.
A session that caught my attention was titled “Handling Media Inquiries With Nerves of Steel” presented by Tim Carroll, the public relations person for a Texas school district, and Rich Bagin, director of the National School Public Relations Association.
Not only does this reporter get that school board members need and should take advantage of professional development, but he also did his homework to understand just what the school board members were learning in Orlando.
Allen and Bagin include a piece of advice that works in nearly all arenas, from politics to marriage:
“Think before you speak.”
I called school board member Kim Fisher to see if she had made it to the session on media inquiries.
She called me back promptly and answered honestly that she had not.
“That was one of the main ones I wanted to go to,” she said, but the shuttle between where she was staying and the conference ran late.
“By the time I got there, they were at capacity. It was popular.”
Fisher said she did not think any of the board members were able to make that session, but said it was a great conference. She said she planned to share with teachers and staff members ideas she picked up from the NASA Educator Resource Center at the Kennedy Space Center.
“There’s so much out there for our teachers.”
I noticed Fisher used no jargon. I can’t know whether she thought before she spoke, but she seemed to answer my questions with quite the nerves of steel.
Not only did the reporter do his homework, but the school board member did hers. She attended the conference with her district in mind and worked hard to ensure that her district’s money wasn’t wasted. If BoardBuzz were going to write a textbook, this story would be in it!