As citizen leaders, individual school board members face complex and demanding challenges. Yet few people fully understand the scope and far-reaching implications of board members’ responsibilities.

Their job is to establish a vision for the education program, design a structure to achieve that vision, ensure schools are accountable to the community, and strongly advocate continuous improvement in student learning. That job entails many meetings, numerous school functions to attend, reams of reports, agendas, proposals, and other information to read and study, plus a host of difficult decisions to make.

The men and women serving the Bartlesville Public School District and their years of service are Scott Bilger, President, 11 years; Rick Boswell, Vice-President, 11 years; Andrea Nightingale, Clerk, 3 years; Randy Herren, 8 years; Kevin Sitton, 5 years; Suzy Keirsey, 1.5 years.

Although they wear different hats in the professional world, school board members put on a collective hat when they get down to the business of leading their school districts. Board members must pull together as a team toward a common goal of helping students achieve.

Board members contribute hundreds of hours each year leading their districts, and in Bartlesville, they hold elected positions without monetary compensation. Board meetings are only a portion of the time commitment for board members, who also attend seminars and training sessions to keep abreast of the latest trends in educational leadership, are deeply involved in community activities and spend many hours in the schools and at extracurricular events.

In recognition of their dedicated service, January is designated as School Board Recognition Month. This is a time to show appreciation and better understand how these local trustees work together to provide a better future for our children.