How I Am Becoming an Informed Board Member

This is the first of a two-part discussion of some foundational material that will allow me to discuss other ideas later on…

A few folks were present my first evening as a new Board member.  What was placed in front of me was a stack of books about 10 inches high of materials I needed to know quickly.  In the stack were the School Code, a book on the Sunshine, Right to Know, and Newspaper Laws, one on School Law, one on School Finance, and one that I have thoroughly enjoyed, a compendium of lessons learned articles by other board members, school administrators, and leaders within the Pennsylvania School Board Association (PSBA).

I’m still working through all of them and I’m grateful to those that helped to select them.  Since most of the material was put together by PSBA, I want to note here that I have been fairly impressed by the careful way they approach the challenge of training new board members.  As they will tell you on their website (, there are an increasing number of new board members as a percentage of the board population, which makes it essential and highly valuable that they produce and maintain these materials as a way to retain good knowledge and best practices, and to help new members get “up to speed” quickly.

Their publications are available to everyone and there are more books of interest, so I suspect I’ll be reading for a while.

I’ll close this with also noting that PSBA and our Montgomery County Intermediate Unit provide specific training conferences for new members and I’ll be attending some of them as well, time permitting.  If the conferences are like the books, I’m certain they will be worth the small expense required.