In January of 1999 I was sworn in as a Clark County School Board trustee from District G, representing the east side of our valley. District Superintendent Brian Cram announced his retirement shortly thereafter, and the board began a nationwide search to find his replacement. During the process, our “headhunter” observed that “we did not work together” because seven individuals were giving individual instructions to one superintendent.
At a conference of the Council of Great Cities, we learned about the leadership model called “policy governance” by John Carver. The model requires the consensus of the board to give policy direction and then holds the superintendent accountable through specific policies and regulations. Also, policy governance required the board to monitor itself as well as its individual members. I say: Bring back policy governance.
In November, at least three new school board members — and possibly four — will be elected. My advice for voters: Study the candidates and their backgrounds and look for possible biases. Do they understand the role of a board? Do they have experience working with a large budget? Are they respectful of others? Will they work toward compromise and consensus? Will they engage parents, business, higher education, district staff and have their No. 1 focus be our students?
To provide quality education for our youth, we must have a board that leads toward quality education.