School board member is perhaps the hardest job I can think of. It can be thankless, and parents like me can be relentless. Yet, school board members keep us informed, and even can help us navigate the minefield that is public education policy in North Carolina. Most importantly they set policy on the ground level.
There are many things I look for in a school board member. First and foremost, I look for someone who is willing to truly serve our schools. There are some who might use the school board to jump start their political career. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if your only motivation to run for school board is to move up the political ladder, I’m not interested in your candidacy.
Here in Wake County, and in large counties across the state, school board members will run for a small district. However, they will effect the board as a whole. A good school board candidate must be willing to care about the entire county and put the general well being of all children first.
The best school board members have been good communicators. They listen and are willing to talk with anyone. They answer email, take calls, and meet with their constituents. They advocate for our schools at the county and the state level.
While many may argue with me, I actually don’t think that political parties should endorse school board members. I believe that public education is non partisan. I believe that as long as the board member cares about the welfare of all children, and believes in public education, they can be an asset to the board. Having people who have unique and even dissenting opinions can make a stronger and more representative body.
So we all have homework to do. Find out who is running. Find out why they are running. Decide if they will are willing to work on behalf of the all the children in your county. They shouldn’t have a political agenda except for making our schools the best they can be.
More on electing a school board? Read Stu Egan’s Caffeinated Rage Post