I would like to thank all of the candidates running for the Iowa City Community School Board. Thank you for volunteering your time and energy. I hope you enjoy the experience of participating in the very foundation of democracy.
This is a critical and challenging time for public schools in Iowa. We need school boards that can rise to this challenge. We need school boards that can advocate for our students and for public education at a higher level than has ever been required in our history.
I see three primary goals for our next school board over the next two years:
1. Deliver our strategic plan and district goals to improve reading proficiency, improve math proficiency and increase overall educational experiences. Our top legislative priority to receive adequate and timely funding will be a big part of the board’s work to support this objective.
2. Transform our learning environment by delivering the facilities master plan with excellence and by passing the required general obligation bond in Sept 2017.
3. Be the best board team ever.
With these goals in mind, here is what I look for in candidates:
• I always hope the candidate starts with a focus on students and education vs. advocating for singular issues. Candidates don’t need to be educational experts, but we always need to maintain our focus on improving education. This is easier said than done.
• We need candidates that can represent the entire district and put the needs of all our 13,000 students first.
• Candidates need to have demonstrated the ability to work effectively with others and demonstrated the ability to be a great team member. Great teams have conflict and robust discussion on differences, but they do it in a functional way focused on their common objectives.
• We need a diversity of skills, experiences and thought processes.
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• A key component for an effective board member is: are they committed to doing the work? Significant effort is required in learning and development to be an effective board member. The learning never ends.
• The candidate needs to help enable functional government vs. dysfunctional government. Is the candidate able to perform at this level?
The next school board needs to take many things to the next level. Our ability to advocate and influence in Des Moines needs to increase. Our ability to focus on and deliver strategic plans is critical in an environment with scarce resources and funding. Our ability to communicate and engage with our staff and with the public needs to be more effective. We need to be the best school board team ever.
We need to get this done for our students and for our community. On Sept. 8, please vote.
• Chris Lynch is a member of the Iowa City Community School Board. This column represents his opinion and not necessarily those of the board. Comments: Chris.Lynch@iowacityschools.org