February is designated by the Association of Alaska School Boards Board of Directors as School Board Recognition Month.

By Sherry Becker, Superintendent, SE Island School District

School board members are people who have an extraordinary dedication to our public schools. It’s time we said thank you for their untiring efforts. 

Too often we forget about the sacrifices board members routinely make. Too often we forget about the important role board members play in ensuring local control over our public schools, control in the hands of people we know . . . people who are our neighbors. Too often we forget in the tradition of a representative democracy, board members are our connection to influencing how public schools are governed. Too often we are quick to criticize board members without really knowing all the details that went into any given decision. Too often the efforts of board members go unrecognized and unrewarded. 

We can begin to correct these oversights throughout February, designated by the Association of Alaska School Boards Board of Directors as School Board Recognition Month. This is a time to show our appreciation and begin to better understand how school board members work together to provide leadership for our schools. 

The school board works closely with parents, education professionals and community members to create the education vision we want for students. It then formulates goals, defines results, and sets the course for an adequate and equitable education program for all students. The school board is accountable to the public. It is responsible for assuring the public the money allocated to public schools has a good return on investment, overseeing regular assessment of the district’s students, staff, and programs. The school board is also a strong advocate for public schools, responsible for communicating the needs of the school district to the public, and vice-versa. 

In February, join with others from throughout our district and state to salute the men and women who provide grassroots governance of public schools. Make a special effort to tell each school board member that his or her hard work has been noticed and is very much appreciated. 

Thank you to the Southeast Island School District Board Members:

Shannon Silverthorn, Board President

Sandy Curtis, Board Clerk

Rebecca Saffold, Board Member

Tia Nardini, Board Member

Molly Kimzey, Board Member