Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thank you, school board members

The week of March 18-22 has been proclaimed School Board Appreciation Week in Georgia. The weeklong observance calls attention to the contributions of local boards of education and is sponsored by the Georgia School Board Association (GSBA). The mission of GSBA is to ensure excellence in the governance of local school systems by providing leadership, advocacy, and services as well as representing the collective resolve of Georgia’s 180 elected boards of education.

In Oconee County Schools, we are blessed to have a tremendous governance team that supports the educational mission of our school system and sets policies and yearly budgets that enable the educators within our organization to carry out the day-to-day operations that support learning. In our recent SACS visit, the AdvancED external review team rated the standard of Governance and Leadership higher than any other standard reviewed (3.3 out of 4). In addition, OCS was commended in the “Powerful Practices” section of the review as the team stated, “The governing body ensures that school leadership has autonomy to meet goals for achievement and instruction and to manage day-to-day operations effectively.” 

The current members of the Oconee County Board of Education represent a wide variety of experiences and bring a wealth of knowledge about Oconee County’s traditions, values, and beliefs. The BOE members include lifelong residents, retired educators, and local business owners. The members of the governance team currently serving are:

·         Mr. Tom Odom (Chair)
·         Ms. Kim Argo (Vice Chair)
·         Mr. Wayne Bagley
·         Mr. Mike Burnette
·         Mr. Mark Thomas

Each year the board of education holds at least two public meetings each month, and attends state-mandated training, local school system activities, and planning retreats. While compensation is allocated for BOE members in board policy, the members have voted for several years to forgo compensation so that additional monies are available for student needs. This selfless act speaks further to the commitment of these individuals to have a positive impact in our community and for our young people.

Please join me this week in thanking our board of education members for their service to the nearly 7,000 students, 1,000 employees, and 10 schools that make up our outstanding district.
Each day their efforts and leadership make our school system better. With continued support from our community of learners, valuable stakeholder input, and a governance team focused on the right work, Oconee County Schools is charting a course to greatness.

Do you have specific questions about the role of our board of education?  Would you like to send a note of praise or appreciation to the members?  If so, please contact me at jbranch@oconeeschools.org. As always, I look forward to your comments, ideas, and input.  



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