Being a school board member is not only daunting, but low-paying and thankless. What I don’t understand is why so many want the job. All four Seattle incumbents are facing passionate opponents.
But passion is not enough to run the school district. It takes lots of executive and business skills and, above all, knowledge of the latest research and trends in the education system.
A misconception for many candidates is that the position gives you power to run the district. Yes and no. Seattle Public Schools board members only have the power to hire and fire two position-holders, the superintendent and internal auditor. Their main job is to set policy for the district, and the impact can be far-reaching. The district, with its 46,000 students, is diverse and has many needs.
It takes a strong team to bring effective changes to the district. All team members must work together without ego, and not let politics get in the way. Previous board members had a history of not trusting, working, or talking to one another.
The current board members seem to work well together and behave like professionals, even during crises. (end)