Monday, April 02, 2007

A Job Description for Board of Education

One of the most frustrating things for me, as an elected official, was when people would call me up and tell me how much they agreed with the position I'd taken, how much they supported my efforts on an issue and how they thought I was on the right path. However, being in the minority, I would always ask if they'd be willing to stand with me on the issue. Invariably, the answer was no. They were willing for me to take a stand, and willing to let me know they agreed with me, but they weren't willing to offer themselves - or their support - in public.

I understand why many took such a position, but always felt that until such individuals were willing to make public their private convictions, the area would not move forward.

About three months ago, I was approached by several individuals who were frustrated with the Toledo Public Schools and the Board of Education. Some of these people had been 'fighting the good fight' with the school system for a long time...others only recently reached a level of frustration that sparked their involvement. What was different about these people was their willingness to publicly pronounce their dissatisfaction and to take the next step to become politically involved in electing individuals who would be more accountable to the taxpayers, parents and children.

They asked me if I would join them in their efforts, lending my successful campaigning experiences to their group. I was impressed with the dedication they showed, their willingness to step forward and their commitment to a good school board member and not to any special interests. So I said yes.

This group doesn't have a name, it doesn't have a leader, but it does have a mission: to elect two new school board members this fall. The group has people from all walks of life - business, community groups, teachers, parents. It has no political bent - there are Republicans, Democrats and Independents. Who we are, or what party we belong to, is not important within this group because we share a common goal of excellence in our school board and we're all willing to set aside our partisan or social or philosophical differences in order to achieve this objective.

Lisa Renee of Glass City Jungle is also a member and has her own post...asked to join because of her extensive experience in blogging and internet outreach. Together, today we are announcing our reasons for joining our fellow citizens in this endeavor and are inviting those of you who may share in this goal to join us.

The most critical thing that any group can do is to define what they are trying to accomplish. While this citizen group has many interests, we wanted to all be on the same page when it came to supporting individuals for the school board. So we developed a job description for TPS School Board Member.

Interestingly, there wasn't one available, despite the many responsibilities. We enhanced the job description by creating a list of characteristics or attributes we all believed would be ideal in a candidate. We realize that one person may not have everything on our list or all the qualifications we seek, but creating the list and the job description gives us the starting point for making a good decision about whom we should back in the upcoming election. The job description and list are available here.

To have any group of 30-40 agree on a job description may seem unlikely, but we did. We approached this from the perspective of hiring a person to do a job for us and before we got into the hiring aspect, we had to clearly define the job to ensure the candidate would meet the needs. We want you to look at the job description and see if you agree.

We've invited all the known candidates for school board to answer a simple questionnaire and to interview with several individuals for an endorsement. With our endorsement comes volunteers, fundraising, campaign strategy, coordinated p.r., introductions within our various realms of participation (clubs/organizations/etc) and other campaign support, including research on the various issues facing TPS.

Our first public event is a fundraiser Friday, April 13, 2007 from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at the The Distillery - 4311 Heatherdowns Blvd. The suggested donation of $20 includes: a coupon for a 16 oz draft beer, unlimited soft drinks, wings, pizza, veggies, and other snack foods. Additional draft beer is $1; imported or domestic beer and mixed drinks will be available at regular prices.

If you'd like to know more about this unique group, or see who's involved, please join us on the 13th...and stay turned to ThurbersThoughts and GlassCityJungle for updates.

13 comments:

Lisa Renee said...

Nicely done job on your post. I'm looking forward to what all of us can accomplish.

:-)

Maggie Thurber said...

I think this will be a test for our community...if we're successful with the school board, can this approach be applied elsewhere???

Time will tell...

Lisa Renee said...

I agree it will be a test, and chance for people to either decide if they care enough to want to at least try to make a difference.

Kate said...

It is going well - I think people would be amazed at the group we have. All political perspectives - different professions etc. It is a true positive.

I'm looking forward to PUB NIGHT!!! I need a break. Good food, beer and good company. Sound like a winner!

Kate said...

It's heartening to see the group. People from every political party, different professions etc. Shows how much change is needed.

I'm also glad to find other people who are willing to talk out about things Maggie. I observed some of what you experienced in office, and it had to be a frustrating experience.

We have two new board members this year who are in a similar position. They aren't willing to go along with business as usual - but they are a minority.

That's what makes this so exciting. It won't be that way next year.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Maggie and Friends,

I am impressed!

An awful lot of thought went into the job description; I think that you're all definitely on to something here ;-)

As an appetizer, might I offer this thought:

A similarly extensive and far reaching job description for both the students and the student's parent(s)/guardian(s) should logically follow as should one for teachers.

Set the standards high and challenge them to achieve; set no similar standards any you are anticipating failure, which will surely follow.

See you all at the pub!

BrianMaxson said...

Congrats you gals, wish I could be a part of this!

This group is no different than a special interest group, which I hope dosen't get intimidated by the threatened.

This foundation all of you are constructing is the change that Toledo needs. There are way too many palm-greasers in this town that are doing nothing than sponging from the trough and ignoring the needs.

And until the community has a group of leaders to rally around for change, the status-quo will just drive it into the ground.

Here's to hoping your voices will be heard, and heard loud and often. Here's to rising above the juvenile antics by the threatened which will cross your paths, and here's to the right people climbing aboard to show those that do have a personal agenda above the community will see their days numbered, by fact than fallacy.

And to those that think they'll have a free ride? They can see right through you.

Maggie Thurber said...

Hooda - that's an interesting thought. I'm not sure about the teachers as they probably already have a job description...but one for parents and students is intriguing...

Maggie Thurber said...

brianmaxson, I don't mean to be nosy, but why can't you be a part of this? You don't need to live in the school district to provide your input and help effect change...

BrianMaxson said...

Oh as much as I want to be a part of this strong and influential group of people, the waiting for me to make these meetings from Florida would just hold the group up.

I feel very strongly about this next chapter in Toledo's history you guys are about to write, and I feel so helpless just sending $50 to Jim's place to contribute to the cause just dosen't put the emphasis on what is about to happen.

To know how important this means to me and a few of us transplants....

btw, I had to "borrow" an email address, I forgot the password to the BIF name and google in it's infinite wisdom failed to put a password recovery option within the blogger thing and has my normal email blocked blah blah technical stuff blah blah...

Maggie Thurber said...

Oh - you're THAT Brian :)

Okay, given that you're in Florida, you get a pass, but thanks for the willingness to make a donation to the cause!

Do said...

I think this is going to be a good turnout. I have printed out the flyer and posted it in my office as well as faxed it to our Maumee and Oregon office. There are folks that work in those offices that reside in Toledo and have children in our schools.

I am hoping that ALL the candidates will want to screen. The willingness, or UNwillingness, to screen can be open for interpretation and will possibly become fodder for those that don't see this process as holding as much importance as our group see.

Roland said...

Ohio Revised Code 3313 Boards of Education might be helpful.

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