Articles tagged with David A. Pickler

Director Steve McQueen wears NSBA wristband at Oscars

It wasn’t designed by Fred Leighton and couldn’t be measured by carats, but it carried an important message.

Director Steve McQueen (L) and actor/producer Brad Pitt accept the Best Picture award for '12 Years a Slave' onstage during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California. Getty Images/Kevin Winter

Director Steve McQueen (L) and actor/producer Brad Pitt accept the Best Picture award for ’12 Years a Slave’ onstage during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California. Getty Images/Kevin Winter

Steve McQueen, Director of “12 Years a Slave,” wore the National School Board Association’s (NSBA) red wristband for its “Stand Up 4 Public Schools” campaign as he accepted the Oscar for the Best Picture at the 2014 Academy Awards.

NSBA’s “Stand Up 4 Public Schools“ campaign centers on creating strong public schools, governed by school boards, to ensure that all students have the opportunity to learn 21st century skills and are prepared for higher education and the workplace.

NSBA also is partnering with New Regency, Penguin Books, and the filmmakers to distribute “12 Years a Slave” to public high schools. The initiative is coordinated by Montel Williams,  who is a celebrity spokesperson for the “Stand Up 4 Public Schools” campaign. NSBA will assist in distributing an edited version of the film, book, and study guide to “12 Years a Slave” nationwide in September 2014. This version will be appropriate for high school classrooms and each school district can decide whether and how to utilize the resources.

In announcing the partnership to distribute the film, McQueen said, “Since first reading ’12 Years a Slave,’ it has been my dream that this book be taught in schools. I am immensely grateful to Montel Williams and the National School Boards Association for making this dream a reality and for sharing Solomon Northup’s story with today’s generation.”

“We are honored that Steve McQueen shared our wristband with the world at the Academy Awards in support of strong public schools,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “The red wristband sends a powerful message about the importance of standing up for America’s public schools to help every child achieve world-class standards and a brighter future.”

NSBA President David A. Pickler with Steve McQueen at the 2014 Oscars

NSBA President David A. Pickler with Steve McQueen at the 2014 Oscars

NSBA President David A. Pickler attended the Academy Awards and met McQueen on the red carpet before the event. Pickler gave McQueen the wristband to wish him luck and as a sign of support for the partnership and the film. During the ceremony, Pickler tweeted, “Just met Steve McQueen, director of 12 Years a Slave. Shared a hug in celebration of the @NSBAComm partnership.”

Show your support for public education and get a wristband at www.standup4publicschools.org.

Joetta Sack-Min|March 3rd, 2014|Categories: School Boards|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

NSBA’s President discusses school board advocacy on Education Talk Radio

David A. Pickler

David A. Pickler, President of the National School Boards Association and member of Tennessee’s Shelby County Board of Education, was a guest on Education Talk Radio earlier this week. Pickler discussed school board advocacy and his experiences from traveling across the country meeting school board leaders.

Listen to the interview:

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Alexis Rice|February 26th, 2014|Categories: Leadership, Multimedia and Webinars, School Boards|Tags: , , , , |

NSBA video: School board members encouraged to join “army of advocates” for public education

Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director of the National School Boards Association (NSBA), and David A. Pickler, NSBA’s 2013-14 President, urge school board members to join NSBA’s “Army of Advocates” and fight for public education. Gentzel asks school boards to stand up to “those who abandon student achievement and sell off public schools and end local school board governance for their own profit,” and details some of NSBA’s new advocacy initiatives.

View the video:

Alexis Rice|February 5th, 2014|Categories: Multimedia and Webinars, School Boards|Tags: , , , , |

NSBA leaders bring local school boards message to NBC’s Education Nation

National School Boards Association (NSBA) leaders participated in NBC’s Education Nation Summit this week, bringing NSBA’s message that local governance matters to a wide audience that included governors, foundations, business leaders, researchers and practitioners.

This year’s summit incorporated a student-centered “What it Takes” theme, with panel discussions on how to ensure all students are prepared for success in K-12, higher education, and careers. NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel and President David A. Pickler were among the more than 300 attendees invited to the event.

“Innovation was a persistent theme at Education Nation,” said Gentzel. “Some of the best presenters were young people who, in demonstrating their creativity, also served as great testimonials for the public education system that provided the training and opportunities for them to explore and develop exciting new ideas.”

Gentzel added that another significant theme that public schools are accomplishing great things but the expectations and needs are growing. However, he added, there needs to be more emphasis on the local leadership to make these achievements possible.

During an Oct. 8 panel featuring governors, Gov. Steve Beshear of Kentucky answered a question posed by Pickler, noting the role of local school boards in school improvement. Beshear also stated that charter schools should be authorized by local school boards, which can determine if those schools are needed.

Pickler also lauded the event’s emphasis on early learning and pre-K. In particular, he praised Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s response to a question from NBC’s Matt Lauer on what would be the single most important game changer to address America’s educational challenges. Duncan stated that the ultimate change should be on delivering a world class early childhood education, Pickler noted.

The three day Education Nation event took place October 6-8 at the New York City public library.

 

Joetta Sack-Min|October 9th, 2013|Categories: Board governance, Conferences and Events, Governance, School Board News, School Boards, School Reform|Tags: , , , , |

NSBA president wins Bammy Award for school board leadership

David A. Pickler

David A. Pickler honored with Bammy Award

The Academy of Education Arts and Sciences presented David A. Pickler, President of the National School Board Association (NSBA), with a Bammy Award in the school board category.

The Bammy Awards were given out on Sept. 20 at an awards gala in Washington in key categories. For the school board category, Reggie Felton, NSBA’s Assistant Executive Director for Congressional Affair, presented the award.

This is the second year of the Bammy Awards. Last year, Pickler was also honored and received the Educator’s Voice Award.

NSBA’s Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel praised Pickler on the Bammy Award honor and for his dedication to public education and school board governance.

“David Pickler is a strong advocate for local school governance to advance our public education system for all children,” said Gentzel.” Receiving the Bammy Award in the school board category is well deserving for such a committed, effective, and respected school board leader.”

Pickler has served on the Tennessee’s Shelby County Schools Board of Education since 1998. Pickler serves on the Board of Directors of the Tennessee School Boards Association and served as their President in 2009. Pickler joined the NSBA Board of Directors in 2008 and was elected as NSBA’s Secretary-Treasurer in 2011 and President-Elect in 2012. Pickler is currently serving as NSBA President.

According to the organizers, “the Bammy Awards were created in response to the relentless national criticism of America’s public schools. The negative perception of public education has led to a decrease in public confidence, calls for reductions in financial support and intense scrutiny of educators, while all that is right in American education is largely ignored.”

Alexis Rice|September 24th, 2013|Categories: School Boards|Tags: , |

NSBA President: Effective school boards will improve students’ success

David A. Pickler, the 2013-14 president of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) and a member of Tennessee’s Shelby County School Board, wrote this column for the October 2013 issue of American School Board Journal.

How can school boards become more effective?

Through our work at NSBA and the state associations, we’ve seen many good examples of school boards that function well and show results through student achievement. We’ve learned through NSBA’s Center for Public Education (CPE) that school boards in districts with high student achievement are different than school boards in low-achieving districts.

So this would seem to be a fairly straightforward matter of identifying what makes school boards work effectively. But teasing out the tangible areas where school boards can make a difference is still an emerging area of research, and the question is more complex than it initially appears.

I recently spoke at a media event in Seattle, hosted by the Alliance for Education. This nonprofit group is working with the Seattle school board to improve academic achievement and guide student success in the district — and to sustain those actions over time. We talked about CPE’s recent report, “Eight Characteristics of Effective School Boards,” as well as other research by the Iowa School Boards Foundation and NSBA’s Key Work of School Boards. Researcher Thomas L. Alsbury, a professor at Seattle Pacific University, also discussed the important role that a school board holds as “one of the few remaining vestiges of accessible democracy.”

So what do we know about effective school boards — those that are making progress in student achievement across all sectors of their student population? CPE’s research shows that some of those characteristics include:

  • An ability to set goals reflecting high expectations for students and monitoring progress toward goals, an understanding of student data and how it can be used
  • A relentless focus on student achievement and spending less time on operational issues
  • A comprehensive understanding of the needs of the school district, and strong relationships with the superintendent, other administrators, teachers, and other key stakeholders, and
  • Perhaps most importantly, everyone in the district is committed to success.

More information about the eight characteristics can be found at CPE’s website.

Student success should be the core mission for any school board. We cannot focus on a single issue but must be committed to a comprehensive plan that will support all our students and their needs, Alsbury noted. Board conflict and turnover ultimately will harm student achievement. We must not get mired in micromanagement and organizational details.

As school board leaders, we must lead, and we must model these characteristics for the district staff, students, and the community. We must ensure that every child is prepared for the 21st century and beyond. We know that we are living in exponential times of change—in just the last few years technology has changed our work and our lives in ways we never imagined. The generation of students that we are now educating will be taking on jobs that don’t yet exist.

This work becomes even more important in light of the new landscape of education policy, where we as school boards are being forced to justify our existence more frequently.

Not every school board has an organized group like the Alliance for Education to monitor our work, so we must take it upon ourselves to learn from this research, taking a hard look at our inner workings and continuously striving for improvement. We also could look for community and business partnerships with like-minded groups such as the Alliance. If we use our ability to lay a foundation and set the culture for the school district, our students will benefit for years to come.

Our students need—and deserve—the best we can give.

 

Joetta Sack-Min|September 11th, 2013|Categories: Board governance, Center for Public Education, Educational Research, Governance, Key Work of School Boards, Leadership, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, School Reform|Tags: , , , , |

State school board leaders focus on transformative leadership at NSBA event

David Pickler

NSBA President David Pickler addresses Presidents’ Retreat

More than 80 state school board leaders gathered in Memphis, Tenn., last week to discuss school governance trends, hone their leadership skills, reflect on the fast-changing landscape, and learn from their colleagues at the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) annual Presidents’ Retreat.

NSBA President David A. Pickler, a member of the Tennessee’s Shelby County Board of Education, hosted the retreat in his hometown for state school boards association presidents, past presidents, and state executive directors.

The retreat focused on transformational leadership, Pickler’s theme for his term as president and addressed the challenges in public education. Pickler encouraged school board leaders to become more effective advocates for public education and school board governance.

“This is our time to challenge conventional wisdom and embrace the possibilities ahead,” said Pickler. “We also must consider the challenges ahead with the efforts by well-funded and well-organized entities that want to dismantle our American institution of public schools and local school board governance. We must take on those who are trying to take away our students’ right to a great education and fight for the futures of more than 50 million schoolchildren.”

School board leaders participated in a highly interactive training event with staff from the Crew Training International (CTI), a Memphis-based company that specializes in human factors training used by commercial and military aviators to accomplish their complex missions. The facilitated training began with enhanced academics and culminated with a simulated space flight using CTI’s interactive, computerized training.

“This training gave school board leaders real skills to build teams, communicate effectively, and capture best practices so they can positively affect public education and the advocacy required to promote it,” said David Dufour, CTI’s Director of Operations who led the training program.

Following the leadership training, school board leaders participated in a wing-pinning ceremony recognizing their leadership training with Commander W. Brent Phillips of the U.S. Navy Recruiting Command. Phillips, before pinning the school board leaders, gave remarks and noted to the school board leaders, “My kids have benefited from your efforts. Thank you for all that you do”

Representatives from the National Governors Association, Northern Kentucky University, several state school boards leaders, and previous NSBA Presidents spoke about key leadership topics and vital issues in the states and federal level concerning K-12 education policy.

Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Maj. Gen. Patrick Henry Brady addressed the retreat’s closing session and discussed leadership and his experiences in the Vietnam War and longtime career with the U.S. Army.

Action News 5 – Memphis, Tennessee

Brady discussed that school board member’s are “key to the success to the future of America.” Brady noted that we must “teach young people the importance of charter and patriotism” and show them “they can be heros.”

Pickler announced a new NSBA partnership with the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation’s (CMOHF) Medal of Honor Character Development Program. The program incorporates the ideals of courage and selfless service into the middle and high school curriculum to build character and promote responsible citizenship. The program offers Medal of Honor-related lesson plans that draw upon the ideals embodied in the Medal of Honor and their application in daily life. The program already is in 33 states and Department of Defense Dependents Schools in Europe and the Pacific.

NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel, praised the new partnership and noted, “We are honored to ally with the CMOHF to pursue our mutual goals of ensuring that students fully appreciate the value of these contributions and that they will be inspired to fulfill all their responsibilities as citizens of the United States. NSBA looks forward to working exploring partnership opportunities with the Foundation and to lend our active support to its mission.”

Brady’s address and the Presidents’ Retreat were featured on WMC-TV Action Five News in Memphis.

Alexis Rice|August 22nd, 2013|Categories: Board governance, Governance, Leadership|Tags: , , , |

State school board leaders to attend NSBA retreat on leadership

This week dozens of state school board leaders will meet in Memphis, Tenn., to discuss school governance trends and hone their leadership skills at the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) annual Presidents’ Retreat.

NSBA President David A. Pickler, a member of the Shelby County, Tenn., school board, is hosting the retreat in his hometown from August 15 to 18 for more than 80 state school boards association presidents, past presidents, and staff directors.

The retreat is focusing on transformational leadership, Pickler’s theme for his one-year term as president.

“We are living in a world of exponential change, where technology is reshaping the way we work and communicate,” Pickler noted. “As school board leaders, we will oversee the transformation of public education to ensure that every child is prepared for the 21st century and beyond. This event will give us the opportunity to learn as well as explore ideas with our peers.”

The school board members also will participate in a highly interactive training event with staff from the Crew Training International, a Memphis-based company that offers training to develop the skills used by U.S. military aviators to accomplish complex missions. The facilitated training will explore several scenarios and allow participants to use CTI’s specialized hands-on, computerized training.

Representatives from the National Governors Association, Northern Kentucky University, and several state school boards leaders will speak about current topics in leadership and K-12 education policy.

And in a Sunday morning address, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Maj. Gen. Patrick Henry Brady will speak about leadership and his experiences in the Vietnam War and longtime career with the U.S. Army.

“Each year this retreat gives our state association leaders a chance to reflect on the fast-changing landscape and learn from their colleagues,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “We look forward to organizing a fantastic and productive event for our state leaders.”

 

 

Joetta Sack-Min|August 15th, 2013|Categories: Announcements, Board governance, Governance, Key Work of School Boards, Leadership|Tags: , , , , , |

Join our army of advocates

The following is NSBA President David Pickler’s column from the July/August issue of American School Board Journal.

This is a particularly exciting year to take the reins as NSBA President. I am excited and energized to work with our new Executive Director, Tom Gentzel, and see his vision for this organization take hold.

We are living in exponential times of change in NSBA, and the opportunities that lay ahead are incredible. You’ve probably already heard about what we’re calling the New NSBA in this column and at NSBA events. The NSBA Board of Directors has worked to restructure and recreate our organization. Under the leadership of Tom and our new Chief Operating Officer Marie Bilik, we are transforming NSBA’s internal operations to establish structure that is efficient, effective, and fiscally viable.

We now must transform NSBA’s external advocacy and outreach to meet challenges at the federal, state, and local level. Chief among these are efforts to privatize our nation’s public schools through charter school expansion and taxpayer-funded school vouchers.

Charters remain an unproven experiment. And while we embrace the right of each parent to have a choice for their child’s education, taxpayer-funded school vouchers represent a subsidization of private schools with public school dollars. Neither charter schools nor voucher programs require the same accountability that is imposed on our public schools. Another challenge is federal regulators’ growing encroachment into local school board governance.

Now is the time to change the conversation about public education and school board governance. We know our public schools are not failing — each of us witnesses their tremendous accomplishments taking place each day. As school board members and community leaders, we must take a stand for our public schools.

How can we do that?

If you share my belief that public education is a civil right and cornerstone of our democracy, then we must embrace our responsibility to be vigilant advocates. Failing to act will lead to the loss of this great American institution of public schools for all children.

At NSBA, we are working to strengthen our advocacy in Washington and in each state, aligning and focusing our resources and providing more relevant services to our state associations.

Our voice is already gaining resonance. We are going on offense in an effort to change the conversations about public education. NSBA wrote legislation, “The School Board Governance and Flexibility Act,” that would boost local school board authority and curb the U.S. Department of Education’s overreach. This bipartisan bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in March and now has 20 cosponsors.

We are creating advocacy strike forces to combat those who seek to privatize our schools or impede local decision making. NSBA worked with the Louisiana School Boards Association to provide legal, communications, and advocacy support during its recent lawsuit to stop the state’s taxpayer-funded voucher scheme. The state’s Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional in May, but we know that is not the end of the story. School choice proponents—backed by wealthy entrepreneurs and for-profit investors —are cooking up new ploys in Louisiana and several other states. NSBA and your state association will be there to stave them off.

While NSBA has been a visible player in Washington politics for years, we have yet to achieve our potential as an advocate and ambassador for public education. We must lead the conversation about public education and school board governance and fight for the futures of our more than 50 million schoolchildren.

To do so, we will create an army of advocates that will go to battle, though the courts and legislatures, for public education and school board governance. We will build strong partnerships with state association members, corporate stakeholders, and other national groups to increase our effectiveness.

We need your help. As a school board member, you are an influential community leader. Through your leadership, we will engage parents, educators, and community and business leaders as core stakeholders. We will move beyond issues that divide us and forge alliances around the opportunities that can unite us.

I encourage each of you to join our army of advocates. Never forget your significance as we move forward. Never forget the power of one person to make a difference in the lives of our schoolchildren.

Now multiply one by 90,000—the number of school board members in the U.S.

With this power, we will be that voice for public education to ensure that our public schools empower our nation to fulfill its potential — one child at a time. Together, we can.

 

Staff|July 10th, 2013|Categories: Board governance, Federal Programs, Governance, Leadership, Legislative advocacy, Public Advocacy, School Boards|Tags: , , |

NSBA’s President discusses the New NSBA and school board leadership on Education Talk Radio

David A. Pickler

David A. Pickler, President of the National School Boards Association and member of Tennessee’s Shelby County Board of Education, was a guest on Education Talk Radio for a two part interview. Pickler discussed the “New NSBA,” school board leadership, vouchers,  the Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act, and his experiences and leadership on his local school board.

Listen to the interviews:

Part 1:

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Part 2:

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Alexis Rice|May 30th, 2013|Categories: Board governance, Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs, Legislative advocacy, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, Privatization, Public Advocacy, School Buildings, School Vouchers|Tags: , |
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