As citizens who serve children and represent their communities, individual school board members face complex and demanding challenges. Yet, few people fully understand the scope and far-reaching implications of board members’ responsibilities. All Texans should recognize the vital contributions of these men and women and focus attention on the crucial role these elected leaders play in the education of our children. They truly make a difference every day.
Their job is to establish a vision for the education program, design a structure to achieve that vision, assure schools are accountable to the community, and strongly advocate continuous improvement in student learning. That job entails an endless string of meetings and school functions to attend; reams of reports, agendas, proposals, and other information to read and study; and a host of difficult decisions to make.
School board members come from all walks of life. They are farmers, secretaries, doctors, lawyers, homemakers, teachers, truck drivers, business owners, professors, architects, ranchers, and real estate agents, to name just a few.
The Sweetwater ISD School Board President is Becky Jimenez who is a secretary at Wetsel and Carmichael, LLP. Vice-President of the board is Gail Lawrence who is the President of TSTC West Texas. Owner of Creative Graphic Solutions, Russ Petty, serves as the Board Secretary. Additional board members include Nancy Johnson who is a neo-natal nurse at Hendricks Medical Center and Ginny Mayes who is a juvenile officer for Nolan, Fisher and Mitchell Counties. Mark Meneses is a co-owner of WETS (Wind Energy Turbine Services) and Jeanie McPherson is the CFO at Ludlum’s Measurements.
While they wear many hats in the workday world, school board members put on a collective hat when they get down to the business of leading their school districts. Board members must pull together as a team toward a common goal—helping our students achieve. While they may individually disagree on certain issues, their role as a board is to consistently strive toward excellence.
Board members contribute hundreds and hundreds of hours each year governing their districts. Whether crafting policies, hiring administrators, listening to staff and student concerns, or recognizing outstanding programs, board members always keep their eyes on the goal of student achievement.
The time spent in board meetings represents just a small fraction of the hours school board members devote to their jobs. They work hard at seminars and training sessions to keep abreast of the latest changes in state and federal regulations and learn trends in educational leadership. They also are deeply involved in community activities, and spend many hours in the schools and at extracurricular events. Their love of learning and concern and caring for students, staff, and the community drive board members’ desire to ensure every student can succeed.
In recognition of this service, January is designated as School Board Recognition Month and countless districts across the state will take this opportunity to say thanks to our trustees for giving so much to their communities. Make a special effort to tell each school board member that his or her hard work has been noticed and is truly appreciated.