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School board service

an honor, a challenge

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice once observed, "There's no greater challenge and there is no greater honor than to be in public service." As I approach the conclusion of nearly 11 years of service on the Elkins School Board, I wholeheartedly concur. Furthermore, since the office of school board member is the only elected position without a paycheck, I believe the challenges and honors are felt more keenly.

The challenges of:

• Missing family dinner time at least once a month to attend meetings that, by law, must be held after 5 p.m.;

• Giving each issue that comes before the board proper consideration, knowing that to do so may require lengthy discussion before a decision;

• Defending decisions to members of the public, most of whom lack the ability and many of whom lack the inclination to take the time to properly consider the issues the board must resolve;

• Making time to participate in state-required board training, often involving travel out of town, and doing so before midnight on Dec. 31 each year;

• Ensuring that each student in our district is served to the best of our ability;

• Making fair and unbiased decisions in disciplinary matters that come before us;

• Being good stewards of public funds and maximizing each dollar's effectiveness;

• Hiring and holding accountable a superintendent who will serve the district and move it continually forward.

However, with each challenge comes an equivalent honor or:

• Supporting the faculty and staff by providing them with the tools they need to educate the children of our community;

• Seeing our facilities expand and improve as our student population grows;

• Putting technology in the hands of every student;

• Annually walking the halls of each school to observe students, listen to their presentations and enjoy lunch with them in their cafeteria;

• Watching athletic events and other extracurricular activities which enhance the overall development of students;

• Getting to know families in the process of serving their children;

• Sitting on the stage during commencement each May as our graduates receive their diplomas, knowing that in some small way we helped them to develop the skills they need to be successful in whatever they choose to do next.

So, for those who might aspire to become a member of their school board, I encourage you to consider the challenges and honors that are unique to the position. They go hand-in-hand with making your community a better place. For my part, I am grateful for the privilege of serving on the Elkins School Board. It has been a challenge ... and an honor.

Carol Heymsfield


Commentary on 05/22/2018

Print Headline: NWA Letters to the Editor

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