ELIZABETHTON - January 20-26, 2019 is School Board Appreciation Week in Tennessee. This week helps build awareness and understanding of the vital functions our locally elected boards of education play in our community. Elizabethton City Schools is joining public school districts from across the state to celebrate School Board Appreciation Week and honor local board members for their commitment to Elizabethton and its children.
“Our Board is the backbone of our school system, and we are blessed to have members whose number one goal is to do what’s best for students,” said Dr. Corey Gardenhour, Director of Schools. “They have a great many responsibilities, but all of their decisions are based on what will prepare our students most for personal success in college and career. This week, and throughout the year, we want to encourage everyone to show their support for these public servants.”
Serving on the Board is a major commitment. Members spend hours outside of regular meetings preparing for decisions that will have far-reaching impacts in the lives of thousands of students and hundreds of employees. Members are also required to attend annual training, and often represent the school system at events, meetings, and with state representatives.
Though the board is not responsible for day-to-day operation of the school system or personnel decisions, it has authority over policy, budget, and hiring the Director of Schools. These decisions drive progress and growth within the school system and depend on members’ familiarity with issues, opinions, and laws.
Chair Rita Booher explained the key duties of the Board are to:
- Create a vision for what the community wants the school district to be and for making student achievement the top priority;
- Establish standards for what students will be expected to learn and be able to do;
- Ensure progress is measured to be sure the district’s goals are achieved and students are learning at expected levels;
- Create a safe, orderly climate where students can learn and teachers can teach;
- Form partnerships with others in the community to solve common problems; and
- Focus attention on the need for continuous improvement by questioning, refining and revising issues related to student achievement.
Members serving our district and their years of service are as follows: Chair Rita Booher (13 years), Vice Chair Phil Isaacs (7 years), Dr. Grover May (7 years), and first-year members Eddie Pless and Danny O’Quinn. Board members serve for staggered four-year terms.
In her time with the Board, Booher said she is most proud of the its holistic approach to school system improvement. “We have invested time and money to strengthen our academic programs, professional development, fine arts, athletics, and building maintenance and expansion,” she said. “We try to focus on upgrading and updating each of these areas because they’re all interwoven.”
She also noted the system’s expanding partnership network with organizations like XQ Institute, universities, and businesses. “These will have long-lasting benefits for students, opening doors for them here in Elizabethton and in their future lives and careers,” she said.
On behalf of the board, she thanked the community for entrusting members with the honor and privilege of serving on the board. “When asked why ECS is special, I can answer with one word – community,” she said. “This community genuinely cares about our schools. It is evident in the support our students receive, and the many ways they are involved outside of school. One of our goals is to have our students love Elizabethton and choose to work and raise their families here. That is why I serve on the Board.”
For more information about each member or the Board’s accomplishments, please visit www.ecschools.net/board.