Adaptive leadership was the theme of C. Ed Massey’s presidency this year, and in his final address as president of the National School Boards Association (NSBA), he reflected on the changes this leadership has brought about.
“We have adapted by selecting our new executive director and by creating the New NSBA,” he said at the Sunday session of NSBA’s annual conference.
Massey, who is a member of Kentucky’s Boone County school board, will become NSBA Past President Monday as NSBA President-elect David Pickler of Tennessee’s Shelby County school board takes the leadership role.
Massey reflected on his travels during his presidency; he made it to 26 states and two countries – Finland and Estonia. In those places, he said, he met many people “with a passion for public education and the interest of children.” And while Finland may top the U.S. education system in some ways, “they can’t match us in creativity,” he said.
He talked about his efforts to advocate for local control and mentioned the Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act, a measure proposed by NSBA. The bill, H.R. 1386, is designed to protect local school district governance from unnecessary and counter-productive federal intrusion from the U.S. Department of Education.
He stressed the importance of advocating for school boards and public education at the state and federal level, suggesting that we tell our members of Congress, “we put you in office and if you don’t support public education, we’ll take you out.”
Now that his presidency is coming to an end, Massey said he will “continue to fight the fight for public education.” He is dedicated to continue to be “a lifelong learner to be an advocate for public education.”
Massey illustrated his adaptive leadership philosophy with a quote from John F. Kennedy: “Change is the law of life. Those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
He closed by telling the audience, “I hope I have made a difference in your life.”