By Tina Lambert
Serving on the Battle Ground School Board was a privilege. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to help guide the district. Anyone with an interest in education and a heart to serve should consider stepping into the role.
The school board has three responsibilities: adopting the budget, evaluating and/or hiring the superintendent, and overseeing policies. The time required varies, but on average it takes about ten hours a week. The responsibility sounds intimidating, but the administrators understand that most of us don’t have years of experience and background in school finance, etc., and they are hugely helpful in educating school board members. It was a joy to work with them. The Washington State School Directors Association, which all school board members automatically belong to, is also helpful. They provide guidelines for everything you do as a board member. WSSDA also holds regional meetings each year as well as an annual conference. These meetings are educational and great opportunities to network with other directors across the state.
It isn’t all long meetings and policies. As a school board member, you get to do some fun things. The Battle Ground School Board is possibly the only school board in the state that tours every school in the district every year (except for during a pandemic, of course). We team up two board members with an administrator and each team tours approximately one school per month. It is a real treat to get an inside peek into the teaching as it happens, and the kids always ask insightful questions as we pop into each classroom.
Sodexo, the food service provider, puts on two or three fancy luncheons in primary classrooms each year. They invite school board members and administrators, and we enjoy fine dining with the kids, who are all using their very best manners. My favorite experience during one of these luncheons was when the young lady next to me called me Mrs. Lambchop!
Finally, participating in graduation at each of the high schools is a moving experience. It is such a pleasure to watch each student walk across the stage and take their diploma, completing so many years of hard work. It is a proud moment, and witnessing it up close, shaking their hands and congratulating them, is a joy.
It’s no secret that I didn’t always agree with all of my fellow school board members, but I must point out that they are a fantastic group of people to work with. Everyone is respectful of one another and I do believe that they all are trying to do what they think is best for the kids.
Please consider running for a seat on the school board. It is a challenging and very rewarding experience. Educating the next generation is so important and influencing the direction of that education is vital. Remember to always listen to the parents. Involved and active parents are the key to successful students.