The candidate filing window for State Board of Education, Educational Service Districts, and Washington State School Directors’ Association elections opens September 1, 2023, and closes at 5 p.m. on September 16.
Electronic voting will take place from October 1, 2023 through October 16. A unique electronic ballot link will be emailed to all school board members on October 1, with reminder emails to follow. Any school board member wishing to update their email address on file with WSSDA prior to the election should visit wssda.org/updatemyemail.
To file for candidacy, see open positions, eligibility requirements, candidates, and more, visit wssda.org/elections.
“I felt a little nervous at first, but after we got going, it felt natural,” said Vanessa Edwards, leadership consultant for the Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA).
Last week, Edwards and OnBoard curriculum co-designer Scott Dolquist practiced delivering one of WSSDA’s newest learning experiences titled Foundations of Cultural Proficiency.
“Culture is a difficult topic, and we bring our own bias and experience when we hear the word,” said Edwards. “But the presentation and the examples we used opened up my perspective, which is what I hope to provide others.”
The newest training is part of WSSDA’s ongoing development of a professional learning system (OnBoard) designed exclusively for school board members. But development does not occur in a vacuum.
“We like to have directors from small to large districts and as many different geographic areas as possible participate in piloting new trainings.” Said Dolquist. “Their feedback shapes the training development to meet the needs of school directors better.”
WSSDA’s curriculum designers, staff, and leadership consultants conduct full-scale pilots and shorter mini-pilots, equal to just one-third of a full training. The pilots serve to prepare leadership consultants to deliver the training and help the designers fine-tune development.
“The final version of a training will include what our volunteer ‘test pilots’ guide us toward,” said Dolquist. “They tell us what is meaningful and important to them within the new learning experiences. We love meeting all the directors and building rapport with them because it’s through the rapport that they feel comfortable giving us honest feedback, which drives some of the revisions we make.”
For last week’s pilot, school directors from Tenino, Tumwater, Pioneer, Fife, Olympia, and North Kitsap joined WSSDA staff and two leadership consultants for the highly interactive experience.
“Piloting the learning experiences helps us anticipate some of the questions that may come up,” said Edwards. “Also, I learn something each time I facilitate a training. For example, how I present may not be how it lands with someone. So the next time, I’ll change it up a little based on the reactions I’ve seen from people.”
But in most cases, explained Edwards, participants may start out pretty quiet and a bit hesitant, but by the end of a training, “everyone’s got a smile on their face, shaking hands, hugging; I mean, we’re friends.”
What’s the benefit for board members trying out the new curriculum? Whether it’s a pilot or the final version of a training, one benefit is always the same. “They’re hearing the perspectives of districts outside of their own,” said curriculum co-designer and former school director Lorrie Edwards. “And then they bring that expanded way of thinking about their work back to their district.”
If you’re a school board member interested in becoming a “test pilot” of new learning experiences, please email email@example.com.
Learn more about WSSDA’s professional learning system for school boards at wssda.org/onboard
Read the Summer 2023 issue of Direct, the quarterly newsmagazine of the Washington State School Directors’ Association. There’s a lot to enjoy, but here are some highlights:
By the May 19 deadline, over 1300 people filed to run for a position on their local school board. Of those, the Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA) was able to contact 911 of them by email to invite them to a free candidate workshop. (See the invitation message.)
The free virtual workshops give candidates a closer look at what school boards do and explore the attributes of effective board members that have been identified through ongoing research. WSSDA is holding the workshops on June 14, 20, 22, 28, and 29. The workshops will cover:
In addition to candidates, current school directors and superintendents are also invited to attend.
In addition to candidate workshops, WSSDA provides many other tools to help school directors promote student success through effective governance. Three tools that complement each other are:
Those tools were developed using ongoing research on the connection between school boards and the performance of school districts and their students.
If you’re thinking of running for a school board, Friday, May 19 is the last day to file for the next round of elections. The Washington Secretary of State website provides all the information you’ll need.
But why run for school board in the first place? If your first thought is to help foster student success, then you’re on the right track. Ongoing research shows that effective school board-superintendent teams positively impact student performance.
You’ll notice the word team in the previous sentence. Serving on a school board is mainly a team “sport,” not an individual sport. In other words, individuals need to hone their skills, but governance only occurs through the collective action of the team.
The Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA) provides many tools to help school boards promote student success through effective governance. Three tools that complement each other are informed by ongoing research on the connection between school boards and the performance of school districts and their students. The tools are:
After you’ve filed and become a candidate, sign up for a virtual candidate workshop offered by WSSDA in June. The workshops will cover: