One of my favorite parts of the school board job is community engagement. I enjoy it in all forms. I like to see large crowds and a long line for public comment at our meetings. I don’t mind a busy email inbox. The social media engagements are informative, and sometimes entertaining (even when I’m the target). Petitions are fine, too. The school events are always fun, although I wish I could attend more. The Let’s Talk School sessions are helpful and informative, although I wish more people would attend. I like to be stopped at the grocery store to talk about schools. I really appreciate it when people agree to meet me at a coffee shop.
The more forms of engagement, the better.
When I first joined the board, I decided against setting up a Facebook page or website. Few members did. I think we were generally comfortable communicating a central message through our Chair or through official WCS channels. By rule, only the Chair speaks for the Board and our WCS communications channels are excellent. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you sign up for WCS’s InFocus. You can sign up here (as Carol Birdsong often reminds us).
Recently, individual board members have become more outspoken. Is that wrong? Perhaps not, as long as individual Board members are clearly speaking as individuals, not being a distraction to our important business, and are not violating good common sense.
Sometimes the community engagement can be rough and tumble, but a public official, particularly a school board member, needs thick skin. It’s often the less comfortable exchanges that contain the most valuable information.
So, yes, I have a personal Facebook page for matters related to schools. I post often, and Tweet regularly. And, you’re probably reading this through my website. I hope they are, and will continue to be, yet another way for us to engage. But, still, please show up for our meetings, come to Let’s Talk Schools, send me emails, stop me in the grocery store, flag down my old blue Jeep, and let’s talk.
Did I mention InFocus? (You’re welcome, Carol Birdsong.)