Local school board members receive recognition
Members: Technology biggest change in recent years
Gov. Jay Nixon has proclaimed School Board Recognition Week statewide through Saturday to recognize the more than 3,600 men and women who serve as board members, according to the Missouri School Boards' Association.
In January, Lance Massey, Wheaton superintendent, thanked each member for being on the Wheaton Board of Education, as well as presented each member with a certificate.
"The Missouri School Boards' Association has a certificate that recognizes you for dedicated leadership in public education and continuous service to children of the community," Massey said. "To me, that's what being a school board member is all about. It's thinking about those things that are best for students."
Randy Henderson, who has been on the Purdy Board of Education for nearly 12 years and board president for the last seven years, said he has enjoyed the opportunity to serve the community on the school board, and it has been very educational. He initially ran for the school board to accomplish his civic duty of helping the local students.
"The main goal of a school board is to set policy, to set a vision for your school and to hire the proper people to get you there," Henderson said.
The board and the state also oversee each district's finances. The area districts contact elected representatives in Jefferson City when certain legislation affects educational policies and local funding.
The Cassville School District will contact State Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob, or State Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville, if it disagrees with them, said John Sullivan, Cassville Board of Education president.
"I know the other boards in Barry County do the same thing," said Sullivan, who has been on the school board for nearly 24 of the previous 27 years.
He used to take people to a Cassville kindergarten class whenever they asked him why he joined the school board, he said.
"We opened the door, 'You look in there. Look at all of those little faces, [and] you realize we are responsible for those kids the next 13 years,'" Sullivan said.
The district must prepare the students before they graduate, he said.
Henderson and Sullivan both acknowledged that the biggest change since they became board members was technology.
"When I first came, our business department in high school still had typewriters," Sullivan said. "It's just an ever-changing thing."
Every year, the district spends a lot of time and money evaluating and updating technology, he said.
The Purdy School District recently rolled out iPads for third- through 12th-graders, Henderson said. The school district is adapting to the ever changing learning environment, which is more electronic compared to when Henderson attended school.
"Our teachers, our students and our staff are learning how to use the new technology that we provided them," he said.
The goal of recognition week is to build awareness and understanding of the important function an elected board of education plays in communities and schools, according to the Missouri School Boards' Association.
"All Missouri citizens are asked to recognize the important contributions of these men and women and focus attention on the vital role these public officials play in the education of Missouri's children," according to the association.