Keeping the Spark Alive

Greg Rokisky

By Greg Rokisky, MASB Marketing Manager

DashBoard, Aug. 16, 2017

This past weekend many members made the choice to spend their time on beautiful Mackinac Island, where they attended MASB’s first Summer Leadership Institute, networked with nearly 200 registered attendees and hopefully indulged shamelessly in mouthwatering fudge.

When it comes to these events it’s easy to make excuses for opting out of continued education opportunities—busy schedules, locations aren’t ideal and whatever else we have going on that seems more important. But, when we do take the plunge to invest in our skills as employees, board members and leaders, and we arrive at these events, we tend to walk away feeling invigorated with a spark of inspiration.

This past weekend was no exception.

“History has its Eyes on You. . .”

These were the words keynote Debbie McFalone, Ph.D. left Summer Leadership attendees with Friday morning, after a talk rooted in empathy, commitment, compassion, patience and the capacity to forgive among board members.

The direct impact school board health can have on student achievement is nothing new to Dr. McFalone and listening to her speak about emotional intelligence and building trust on vulnerability with our fellow board members reinforced the importance of a cohesive team.

Her presentation set the tone for the rest of the weekend.

You can’t talk about what we did in closed session!”

This was one of many lines from the hilarious, yet poignant, mock board meeting that also took place during Summer Leadership Institute. Made up of well-known MASB individuals, including recently sworn-in MASB Board President Michael Rochholz, this session was an exaggerated reminder of what not to do during board meetings.

From stacking the audience for public comment to talking about what happened in closed session, this was an entertaining way to remind us that decorum and board meeting policy matters.

A Pep Talk

There’s nothing like an engaging pep talk. Even though we ended Summer Leadership Institute with a seemingly tough-to-beat pep talk (see below), it was preceded by a much more relevant presentation as Donna Oser, Director of Leadership Development and Executive Search Services, provided a sneak peek of a tool that we’ll be launching shortly after Labor Day.

This resource, developed by school board members for school board members, will equip Michigan boards of education with a framework to ensure positive impact on student achievement through board service.

More on that to come but, in the meantime, further words of encouragement for any occasion:

Ignite and Unite

There’s no doubt the past weekend was a great way to ignite a reminder within us of what we are here to do for public education.

The challenge posed to all of us now, as we go back to our districts and prepare for the school year, is to continue to work together with our teams and constantly seek out ways to further our work. Uniting from across the state at events like these, CBA weekends and hands-on workshops is something board members should all take advantage of.

If you’re looking for a suggestion, might I push you to register for MASB’s Annual Conference which, appropriately enough, has a theme this year of ‘Courage To Lead?’ Early-bird registration is only available until Sept. 8, so lock in your spot and feel confident you’ve made another step toward keeping your board service development spark alive.

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