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School boards honored during Recognition Week

The members of the Morris Area School District Board of Education are, seated from left, Kurt Gartland, Lory Lemke and interim member Laura Carrington. Standing, from left, are Mark McNally, Stan Wulf, James Solvie and Dick Metzger. Not pictured is Brent Fuhrman, who is taking a leave of absence for military duty.

In honor of School Board Recognition Week, Feb. 23-27, Morris Area Superintendent Scott Monson wrote the following article:

School board members are often ordinary people who have an extraordinary dedication to our public schools. We sometimes forget the important role school board members play in assuring local control over our public schools, control that is in the hands of people we know and work with.

School board members establish a vision for the education program, design a structure to achieve that vision, ensure schools are accountable to the community, and advocate continuous improvement in student learning. Some of the biggest surprises that school board members often find include nearly an endless string of meetings and school functions; reams of reports, agendas, proposals, and other information to read and study; and a host of difficult decisions to make.

School board members come from all walks of life. Although they serve many roles in the workday world, school board members put on a collective hat when they get down to the business of leading their school districts. Board members must pull together as a team toward a common goal -- helping students achieve. Though they may individually disagree on certain issues, their role as a board is to consistently strive toward that goal.

Board members contribute hundreds and hundreds of hours each year leading their districts. Whether it is crafting policies, hiring quality staff, listening to staff and parent concerns, providing direction for administration, or recognizing outstanding programs, board members always keep their eyes on the goal of student achievement. The time spent in board meetings represents just a small fraction of the hours school board members spend in leading their districts. They also work to improve themselves by attending seminars and training sessions to keep abreast of the latest trends in educational leadership, are involved in community activities, and spend hours in the schools and at extracurricular events. The school board works closely with parents, administrators, education professionals, and other local citizens to create the educational vision we want for our community.

It is in the schools of each local community that real teaching and learning happen. Consequently, it is the local school board that can best bring together in our democracy the entire community -- parents, business and civic leaders, and all others concerned about the future of our children.

In recognition of this dedicated service, the week of Feb. 23-27 is designated "School Board Recognition Week." This is a time to show appreciation and begin to better understand how local school board members work together to provide a better future for our children.

Please join with others throughout our district and state to salute the members of the Morris Area school board - Brent Fuhrman, Kurt Gartland, Lory Lemke, Mark McNally, Dick Metzger, Jamie Solvie, Stan Wulf and interim board member Laura Carrington.