On May 20, at NJSBA’s Delegate Assembly, I will conclude my term of office and turn over the gavel to a new president. So for this, my last “President’s Message” column for School Leader, I’d like to review some of the accomplishments we have achieved together in the last two-and-a-half years.

During that time, NJSBA has made significant gains in raising its profile and effectiveness. We have secured additional non-dues revenue to support operations. We have increased training opportunities for our members, holding conferences on topics such as school security, technology, board leadership, student achievement, and student equity and opportunity issues, while expanding Workshop and providing additional education experiences through our partnerships with the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, NASA and the U.S. Army. We have also enhanced collaboration with our state education partners, including NJDOE, NJEA, NJASA, NJASBO, NJPSA and NJPTA, stepped up our relationships with state and federal lawmakers, increased the number of staff and local board members serving on statewide committees and task forces on educational issues, such as the New Jersey Student Learning Standards, the state’s School Security Task Force, the State Testing Task Force, School Funding Formula Review, and Health and Wellness Task Force.

We have accomplished all of these things without increasing our annual membership dues. In fact, 2017-2018 will mark the eighth consecutive year that there has been no increase in Association dues.

Moving forward, NJSBA will need to remain focused and vigilant as attacks on public education continue at the state and federal levels, from those who believe incorrectly that public schools have failed our children, from advocates of vouchers, and from those who believe that public funds can and should be used for private, for-profit and religious schools. Issues related to funding, equity of resources and educational opportunities, standardized testing, and learning standards will likely remain in the forefront of public discourse. As an Association, we must be prepared to address these issues and speak out to assert our policies and beliefs.

But the future also looks promising. Recently, I served as a non-voting resource member of the Nominating Committee that has recommended a slate of officers for NJSBA’s May election. I was very impressed by the qualifications and the number of candidates who interviewed for these positions. Going forward, I believe that our Association will experience no lack of dedicated leaders, who hold an unwavering belief in the principle of effective school board governance. That will be critical to successfully lead our Association into a future that holds many challenges and much uncertainty.

I want to take this opportunity to thank my fellow state officers, the NJSBA Board of Directors, County Association Leadership, membership, Dr. Feinsod and our truly amazing staff for all their help and support. I could not have done my job without your assistance, and you have all made my tenure as president much easier. I also want to thank the school board members whom I asked to serve on our various committees and task forces or to be trustee representatives to our affiliated organizations. Your faithful service is appreciated.

Thank you for the privilege of serving as your president!