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Articles tagged with New Jersey School Boards Association

School board associations help in times of crisis

Robert J. Rader, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE), was having lunch with a friend when he heard the news about Newtown.

“You feel it emotionally. You feel it physically,” Rader said Saturday at NSBA’s Leadership Conference’s Second General Session on serving your members in times of crisis. “That changed everything.”

Except, of course, the duty of CABE to do everything it could to support Newtown’s schools and its member districts across the state. School board members usually think that student achievement is their highest calling, Rader said. But crises like the one in Newtown remind us that securing the well-being of students is a prerequisite, the number one job.

The shootings happened on a Friday; by Saturday night, Rader and his staff had posted information for school board members on how to try to prevent such as tragedy, and how to deal with shootings and the aftermath.

Rader was joined in the Saturday session by Michael Waldrop, executive director of the Mississippi School Boards Association, and Lawrence Feinsod, executive director of the New Jersey School Boards Association.

The devastation of Hurricane Katrina is still very much in Waldrop’s mind. While New Orleans got the most attention, little Bay Saint Louis, on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, was “ground zero” for the storm, which pushed 12-foot tide surges as far as 12 miles inland.

“And when it went out to the Gulf of Mexico, it carried everything with it,” Waldrop said.

Throughout the region, homes and many schools were reduced to mere slabs. “How do we start school when we don’t even have buildings?” – that was the refrain of some superintendents.

The association responded by contacting makers of modular units, as well as tent venders, and distributed the information to all affected school districts so overwhelmed officials wouldn’t have to do that research themselves. The association opened a trust fund to buy relief supplies. A modest $150,000 was collected, but that money went far.

“We’re trying to set our office up. We need 20 computers,” one superintendent told Waldrop, and he said. ”The next day they had 20 computers.”

New Jersey sustained $37 billion in damage from Superstorm Sandy last fall. Even the school boards association had to close for five days because it was without power, Feinsod said. When it was up and running, he added, “we knew we had to do something, and we had to do it quickly.”

Over the course of 72 hours, Feinsod and his staff contacted all 586 school districts in the state, a mammoth undertaking that got results.

“One group reached out to us in this very complex state,” one school official told Feinsod. “And it was the school boards association.”

Lawrence Hardy|January 26th, 2013|Categories: Governance, Crisis Management, Board governance, State School Boards Associations, Leadership Conference 2013|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

NJSBA director named Chief Operating Officer of NSBA

Marie S. Bilik

Marie S. Bilik will join the National School Boards Association (NSBA) as its Chief Operating Officer in December, incoming Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel has announced. Bilik is retiring as the executive director of the New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA).

“We are thrilled that Marie Bilik will be joining NSBA’s leadership team,” said NSBA President C. Ed. Massey, a member of the Boone County, Ky., Board of Education. “Marie is a former school board member, mayor, and town council member, and her skills and diverse experiences will be a terrific asset to NSBA’s Board of Directors and the State Associations they represent.”

“Marie has compiled an outstanding list of accomplishments leading the New Jersey School Boards Association,” Gentzel added. “I am confident that her experience and keen insights into association management will be a strong addition to our team.”

As NJSBA’s executive director, Bilik manages the organization’s 70-member staff and an annual operating budget of about $10 million. NJSBA serves more than 4,800 school board members in 587 local districts, as well as 65 charter schools.

Bilik has guided NJSBA through the state’s economic crisis, the creation of a new state school-funding formula, the implementation of a 2-percent tax levy cap, the move of school board elections to November, and proposed reforms in teacher evaluation and tenure. She has focused on improving academic achievement in all of New Jersey’s public schools.

Under Bilik’s direction, NJSBA established the Educational Leadership Foundation of New Jersey (ELFNJ), an independent non-profit organization that advances public education governance through training, research and attaining grants to further professional development. Bilik was appointed by Gov. Chris Christie earlier this year to serve on the Evaluation Pilot Advisory Committee, a group of 21 education stakeholders that is advising the state as it develops a new teacher evaluation process. She also serves on the board of directors for the American School Foundation Alliance.

“I am honored to be chosen for this national position,” Bilik said. “It is an exciting and challenging time for public education. Local boards of education play a critical role in the advancement of student achievement, and the National School Boards Association is committed to enabling them to fulfill that responsibility effectively.”

Bilik has worked for NJSBA since 1993. Before being selected as executive director in 2007, she served as NJSBA’s director of field services. She also has worked as the association’s membership advocacy coordinator, as a field service representative, and as a county program coordinator.

She served as a school board member in New Jersey’s Green Township School District from 1981 to 1988, on Green Township’s municipal council from 1988 to 1993, and as Green Township’s first female mayor in 1993. Bilik will begin her work at NSBA in early December.

Joetta Sack-Min|October 24th, 2012|Categories: Announcements|Tags: , |
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