One of the main comments I hear about my service on the Sparta Board of Education is how grateful people are that I’ve done it for three years and that they could never do it due to the time commitment. Yes, it requires time, but being on the Board of Education also requires critical thinking.
To successfully serve on the Board of Education, one must be a thoughtful independent thinker. When faced with a board agenda, I first review all the resolutions listed. If I need clarification, I reach out to get further information. I ask questions. I review committee minutes. I read board policy. I check New Jersey School Board Notes. If something doesn’t sit right with me, I think about it; and think about it; and think about it some more. I weigh the pros and cons.
I examine the reasons why it is presented as a recommendation by the superintendent. Many people don’t know that the superintendent sets the agenda for the public board of education meetings. I always think about what my constituents would like me to do. I think about the impact of the resolution on students, staff, parents and taxpayers. One thing is certain, I put thought into my votes.
There is a rather steep learning curve to being a Board of Education member. The longer I serve on the board, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more informed my decisions are. I don’t always conform, because at the end of the day I have to live with myself and vote my conscience. I am not someone who rubber stamps votes. I do my best to represent the students, parents, teachers and taxpayers. You might not always agree with how I vote, but rest assured, whatever my vote is, I have thought it through.