I have been involved in education my entire professional life. I was a teacher for 8 years, employed as an administrator for over 25 years for the New Jersey State Department of Education, and I have served on my local school board for 19 years. For the past 5 years I have been the President of the Board of the School Directors for the School District of Upper Dublin. Also, for the past 9 years I served as the President of the Joint Operating Committee for the Eastern Center for Arts and Technology; my area career and technology school. I have experience serving PSBA as both a regional director and the section 8 advisor. During the 2017 school year I participated and completed the Pennsylvania Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP). This year long program, sponsored by the Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC), focuses on Policy, Leadership, and Networking. I retired and now have more time to pursue a PSBA leadership role.
I strongly agree with the vision established years ago by PSBA; to stand for strong school boards, strong public schools and a strong Pennsylvania. PSBA puts school directors first by providing them the tools to be successful. In February PSBA updated its professional development program by designing and offering 42 On-line learning courses free to all-access members. In May, I completed all courses earning the Certificate in Board Governance and the associated seven badges By providing the appropriate resources, including on-line courses, professional development, workshops and conferences, we can build strong school boards throughout the Commonwealth. However, unless our boards take advantage of what is available we are failing our students and communities. PSBA has the responsibility to empower school board members to succeed by providing vital tools, superior training and powerful advocacy.
In a recent PSBA survey the three greatest challenges for PSBA and public education were budget pressures, implementation of The Every Student Succeeds Act, and school construction/maintenance. Pension costs, charter school payments, and special education costs were identified as the top budget pressures. In addition, we face significant challenges addressing the mental health issues of our students, school safety and security, creating greater flexibility in the graduation requirements, Education Savings Accounts (ESA) vouchers, and Property Tax Reform. How do we best address these challenges? All those who support public education, including board members, must work together to advocate for solutions. An example is the process PSBA used to prepare the Commonwealth Education Blueprint. By bringing together education stakeholders from across the commonwealth, real change, support and progress can occur. By working with organizations such as PA PTO, PASA, PASBO, PACTA, PAIU, PA Principals Association, PIAA, and Communities in School we can work together to make a real difference in the lives of all public school children.
I look forward to serving as your next Vice President. I will be a strong advocate for public education and for all school boards across the Commonwealth.