Serving as a school board member is a huge responsibility. But, it’s also a great way to serve your community. Government laws delegate power to the boards to make school budgets and set the curriculum. They help manage school facilities and employ the superintendent. In some areas, they even have some say in collective bargaining agreements. This position sounds compelling to some. So, here are some tips to be a great school board member.

Have a Clear Vision

Vision is essential for any leadership role. To develop yours, you might want to talk to parents, students, and school staff alike. Think about what the ideal school board member is like in your head. How would they react in certain situations?

Student performance is examined more closely than ever. How will you improve your district’s scores? Conversely, what will you do if your district’s scores stagnate?

Developing realistic goals is important. However, try to avoid pie-in-the-sky thinking. You’ll just be setting yourself up for disappointment.

Works Well With Others

You shouldn’t serve on the school board if you don’t like working with others. It’s not the position of a dictatorship. Everyone on the team has a unique and equal perspective. You’ll need to build consensus with others. Good listening skills and the ability to articulate your thoughts are critical.

In the end, board members must agree on the policies that are adopted and make decisions together. You’ll also need to uphold positive relationships with not only the community but the teacher’s union as well.

A “go it alone” approach won’t work.

Engages With the Community

In most cases, you’ll be elected by the members of the community. They are delegating a tremendous amount of power to you. You must be transparent and represent the broader public well.

It might be wise to engage with the public regularly. For example, you can hold regular question and answer sessions in town hall meetings. Putting a face to a voice is very important for many people.

Be Data-Driven

Some of your constituency is personality-based. They will like who you are and back you because they believe they share your values.

Others will not be so easy and will want hard results. Often the easiest way to get improvement is by using data to drive decisions. Test scores are important for many districts. You must be good at gathering and analyzing data. Being able to explain it to your community is important as well.

Being a school board member is a big responsibility. However, there are some things you should keep in mind so that you do a good job.