MASB Standards - #3

My responses to the evaluation questions of the MASB standards for Standard 3.

5/25/20243 min read

The Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) has established standards for the governance of both a school board and individual members themselves. They were developed by school board members for school board members to provide a shared framework for effective school district governance. I've taken the liberty of answering the questions they pose to evaluate or prompt successful adoption of each standard so that you can get a better feel for how I will ensure I lead with proper governance. The next few blog posts will contain my responses to these questions, one standard at a time.

Standard 3: The individual school board member understands and respects both the authority and responsibilities of the Board of Education.

3.a. Does the board member act in accordance with Michigan law, which does not vest individual board members with any type of independent legal authority?

I fully realize the Michigan law surrounding school board authority. Being on several boards that adopt similar policies, and being in education for years, I constantly see examples of these actions. In combination with my ability to maintain confidentiality, I am aware that only the Board, as a whole, can make decisions.

3.b. Does the board member demonstrate a clear grasp of the roles and responsibilities of the Board of Education and the superintendent?

The relationship between a superintendent and the Board of Education should be one of collaboration. The Board establishes the “what” and the Superintendent establishes the “how”, much like our legislative and judicial branches of government. The two entities must maintain positive relationships and collaboration in order to follow through on any identified goals and plans.

3.c. Does the board member follow established policies and procedures?

I am a stickler when it comes to rules. In every facet, from teaching to being President of a board, I pay particular attention to following all established policies and procedures. I have never had disciplinary action. In fact, I have never even gotten a speeding ticket!

3.d. Does the board member support decisions of the Board of Education after a vote is taken regardless of their individual position prior to the vote?

Part of being on a board is realizing that you are a collective governing body, made up of individual people. While you may have your own opinions, boards are set up so the majority has the say - it is just the way it works. There is no “good sport” or “bad sport”, there is just the sport.

3.e. Is the board member able to identify, discuss and resolve conflict with respect and civility?

I have never had an issue resolving conflict. I think this comes from my experience on different boards and as a manager of a chain salon at one point, as well as from years of teaching. I have always withstood my position that we are all here for one reason and while we may have differing opinions (that is what makes boards special), we all are adults and can reach a consensus.

3.f. Does the board member come to meetings having read the background materials and adequately prepared to address items on the agenda?

As the President of the Fenton Pride Collective Board of Directors, I have had experience preparing agendas for meetings, which includes making sure the required background materials are presented to all Board members. As the Treasurer (and later, Secretary) of the Hartland Players’ Board of Directors, it was of the utmost importance that I reviewed all materials necessary to gain a clear understanding in order to form an opinion and vote on matters at hand.

3.g. Does the board member demonstrate understanding of and respect for school district structure and protocols?

As a teacher, I have always respected the school district structure that I’ve been a part of. The rules are in place for a reason and the structure of a school district is established because that is what best fits that district.

3.h. Does the board member declare and avoid engaging in conflicts of interest?

I make it a point to carefully consider any conflicts of interest in anything I do. It’s better to be safe than sorry and be forthcoming in all endeavors that might be even the slightest bit questionable.