Thank a school board member | PostIndependent.com

Thank a school board member

Theresa Hamilton
Staff Photo |

As citizen leaders, individual school board members face complex and demanding challenges. They are alternately described as having the most important volunteer jobs in the country and facing the toughest challenge in elected American government. Yet school board members are just ordinary citizens with extraordinary dedication to our public schools.

January is School Board Recognition Month and Garfield Re-2 is joining other districts across the state to thank these community volunteers — Chris Pearson, Anne Guettler, Patrick Burwell, Scott Doherty and Shirley Parks — for their commitment and contributions to our public schools.

“School board members serve countless hours working to make public education the best it can be for every child,” said Dr. Susan Birdsey, Superintendent of Garfield School District No. Re-2. “In a climate of change and challenge, they develop policies and make difficult decisions on complex issues that affect the entire community and the lives of individual students and their families. They bear responsibility in Garfield Re-2 for an annual budget of $37 million; over 4,800 students from Pre-K through 12th grade; and more than 400 employees.”

Public education is the backbone of American society, and local school boards are deeply rooted in U.S. tradition. Their origins can be traced to colonial times when the Massachusetts Law of 1642 empowered town officers to compel parents to teach their children to read. Today local school boards continue to do the most important work of their communities — that of educating our youth.

Their job is to establish a vision for the education program, design a structure to achieve that vision, ensure schools are accountable to the community and strongly advocate continuous improvement in student learning. Yet local trustees sometimes tackle an often thankless job under very challenging circumstances. January is a great opportunity to thank our local school board members, past and present, for their untiring efforts.

“Preparing today’s students to be productive citizens and the leaders of tomorrow is a tremendous task,” added Dr. Birdsey. “As elected officials, school board members are the voice of their communities, serving first and foremost in the best interest of our school children. The Garfield Re-2 board lives and breaths our vision — to encourage, nurture and challenge every student, every day.”

As school board members, these citizens put on a collective hat when they get down to the business of leading their school districts. Though they may individually disagree on certain issues, board members must pull together as a team toward a common goal — helping students achieve.

In recognition of the dedicated service, January is designated School Board Recognition Month. This is a time to show our appreciation and begin to better understand how local trustees work together to provide a better future for our children. In January, join with others from throughout the Garfield Re-2 school district, our surrounding school districts and the state of Colorado to salute the men and women who provide grassroots governance of public schools.

“Great leadership always begins with a willing heart, a positive attitude and a desire to make a difference. Please join us as we applaud our local leaders in Garfield Re-2 for their service, dedication, and unwavering love of our kids,” said Dr. Birdsey.

Theresa Hamilton is the director of districtwide services for the Garfield School District Re-2, serving Rifle, Silt and New Castle. Contact her at 665-7621.


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