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Getting to Know Your New Board Members

Michael Rochholz

By Michael J. Rochholz, MASB President-Elect

DashBoard, Jan. 11, 2017

Elections have concluded and your first meeting in January is coming up soon (or just happened). You arrive at your meeting and look around the board table asking yourself, “Who is that person?” Well, maybe it isn’t quite like that as you may know they are a new board member, but do you really know them or just know of them?

With all of the questions that come to mind about this new board member who may be sitting at your table or the new board members who may start attending your county meetings, I offer you this suggestion. . .reach out to these individuals and get to know them. I mean really get to know them. For the few questions that you may be asking yourself about them, think of the multitude of questions that they are asking themselves about the process, the roles and even about everyone else at the table. Having personal conversations and interactions and, as a result, having an understanding of who each one of us is, will only help new school board members be successful and help to create an environment where seasoned board members will be more effective in their roles.

Public education is a very complex process today, and the more that we can get to know and understand each other, the more there is the opportunity for us as boards of education to focus on the issues of the district as opposed to potential interpersonal issues.

I urge you to consider taking the next opportunity to have a conversation and get to know that new board member that may be sitting at your table. . .who they are, what they do, why they’re here, what are their wishes and concerns? How we interact with each other today will dictate the level of success our individual school districts will attain tomorrow.

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