September/October 2022

Leadership Letter: IASB Continues on Its Equity Journey

By Thomas E. Bertrand

The tumultuous past three years underscored the importance of flexibility and adaptability. With conditions changing — sometimes rapidly — organizations were forced to be nimble while facing the challenge of delivering vital services in new and innovative ways. Schools proved this could be done — and so did organizations like IASB. Meeting the challenges would not have been possible without a capable, dedicated staff.
The Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) depends on an effective, highly skilled workforce to carry out its mission — to Light the Way for its members by developing their competence and confidence through a robust toolkit designed to build excellence in local school board governance.
IASB’s commitment to promoting diversity, inclusion, and equity is critical to allowing the Association to attract and retain employees with the skills, expertise, diversity of thoughts and backgrounds, and experiences needed to effectively serve its members. This commitment also ensures that IASB’s programs and services meet the needs of diverse boards of education that rely upon the Association in service to nearly two million public school children in Illinois.
In 2021 the Association launched its own internal plan to support equity, diversity, and inclusion. The plan, developed with input from IASB staff and approved by the Board of Directors, outlines goals and strategies for continuing to build a workforce that will deliver outstanding service to members. It includes these goals.
·       Demonstrate leadership commitment and accountability through policy and practices, messaging, and behavior that advances diversity, equity, and inclusion priorities.

(IASB Strategic Plan Priority: 6a, 6b)

·       Cultivate a supportive, welcoming, safe, and inclusive work environment that allows employees to feel connected to the organization’s mission and contribute to their full potential.

(IASB Strategic Plan Priority: 6a)

·       Pursue a comprehensive strategy to recruit, retain, and develop a high-performing staff drawn from all segments of society.

(IASB Strategic Priority: 1b, 6a)


This plan will advance the strategic priorities of IASB by increasing the Association’s collective capacity through this commitment to promoting diversity, inclusion, and equity.
We recognize that every organization may be at a different point in this important journey as we move forward. I look forward to celebrating our progress.

Thomas E. Bertrand, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Illinois Association of School Boards.