As citizen leaders, individual school board members face complex and demanding challenges. They are alternately described as having the most important volunteer jobs in the country and facing the toughest challenge in elected American government. Yet school board members are just ordinary citizens with extraordinary dedication to our public schools. All Godfrey-Lee parents and members of the community should recognize the vital contributions of our trustees and the crucial role they play in the education of our children.
Public education is the backbone of American society, and local school boards like ours are deeply rooted in U.S. tradition. It’s the foundation on which our democracy was built. Today’s school boards continues to do some of the most important work in our community —that of educating our youth. Its job is to establish a vision for the education program, design a structure to achieve that vision, ensure schools are accountable to the community and strongly advocate for continuous improvement in student learning. The job of a school board member is tough, the hours long, and the thanks few and far between. Too often we’re quick to criticize school board members without really understanding the complex nature of their decisions. Now’s the time to thank them for their untiring efforts.
Our school board members come from a variety of backgrounds, yet they share a common goal — helping students achieve in school and life. As a state, Michigan has faced many challenges, but the key to a brighter future is a strong public education system beginning right here in Godfrey-Lee. We often forget about the personal sacrifices school board members make. Board members contribute hundreds of hours each year helping lead our district; board meetings represents just a small fraction of these hours. Collectively, they spend a substantial amount of time reading up on issues, in professional development to keep abreast of the latest trends in school leadership, deeply involved in community activities, and spending many hours attending extracurricular events. They continually advocate for the children of our district, and in the past year school board members made passionate pleas to legislators, speaking out against budget cuts, and pushing for smart reforms.
The month of January marks the annual observance of School Board Recognition Month. This is a time to show our appreciation and begin to better understand how our trustees work together to prepare today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders. Please join with me and others from throughout our district to salute the men and women who go that extra mile in supporting our public schools and our children: