Dear Editor and Moffat County Community:
As long-serving members of the Board of Education, with nearly 26 years of continuing service, we wish to encourage qualified community members to consider running for open board seats. Those of you who find themselves reflecting and possibly contemplating public service, as Board of Education members, we respectfully ask that you consider our nearly three decades of experience on this governance team.
The governing proficiencies we have observed in successful board members include leaders who have solid interpersonal skills. These attributes, among others, include: open communications, trustworthiness, integrity and honesty. Along with these cornerstone qualities, one certain expectation for a successful board member is concern for the entire district — not for a special interest or a narrow philosophy. As we can attest, an elected school board member must hold a broad view of the district. Every program offered by the district has value or, if not, it is scrapped in favor of a program meeting our high standards. Good board members recognize this fact and work toward achievement of the maximum levels of quality for all programs.
Sometimes individuals may also run for the school board to represent a particular political or philosophical point of view. School board elections are nonpartisan, but groups or organizations with a political agenda are often active in board elections. Of course, this is acceptable, and it may even be good politics. In fact, such organizations, be they educator associations or other political action groups, should be applauded and celebrated for their interest and advocacy. Yet, the best school board members are not so tied to a “cause” that they cannot fairly serve the entire school district. Voters should learn as much about school board candidates as possible in order to understand the philosophies of the people they elect.
State law requires very few qualifications for service as a school board member. Some individuals are elected with more immediate knowledge and skills than others. But in our experiences, no member — regardless of occupation, intelligence or personal skills — knows all he/she needs upon election. Those school board members who approach their jobs with a commitment to fill those knowledge and skill gaps more effectively serve their school district and community.
Individual school board members have little power. But, by working well together as a “corporate body,” with the superintendent and with other groups shaping public schools, virtually anything is possible for a school board as a whole. Are we saying that every vote should be unanimous, that differences should not be voiced or that the board/superintendent relationship always should be perfectly harmonious? No, we are not. We are saying that reasonable adults should work toward a common vision and be able to disagree agreeably without creating lasting divisions that assure loss of public confidence.
Please read the official notice in the newspaper and, if you qualify, consider becoming a candidate for a seat on the Moffat County School Board of Education.
Sandie Johns, President Moffat County Board of Education
Karen Stillion, Vice-President Moffat County Board of Education
Christine Balderston, Secretary Moffat County Board of Education
Tony St. John, Moffat County Board of Education