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2007 Conference: NSBA president's remarks

NSBA president pushes for grassroots campaign

The 2007 president of the National School Boards Association, Norman B. Wooten, believes in the power of school board members and other caring adults to help improve student achievement and make a difference in how public education is supported.

Noting that IASB's Executive Director Michael Johnson is serving on NSBA's board this year, and is a federal executive liaison, he thanked Dr. Johnson and IASB's other top leaders for helping to make a difference on Capitol Hill this year. "Thank you for sharing your staff with us," Wooten told IASB's top executive.

"I believe my predecessor Jane Gallucci was right: we need to use snapshots of success to show how to improve student achievement."

Wooten made those remarks at the start of the First General Session on Saturday, Nov. 16, at the 2007Joint Annual Conference in Chicago.

Wooten, who serves as a school board member in the Kodiak Island Borough School District in Alaska, expressed his belief in the power of caring adults to get troubled students turned around, and help them to do well in school.

"Research by the Search Institute out of Minneapolis [] shows that every child absolutely needs five caring adults in their lives. We need to take an interest and watch over the children...I am challenging people to be one of those five caring adults."

But Wooten noted that school board members cannot do it all alone.

"How do we ever begin to engage communities in the lives of children?" Wooten asked. "Well, there are 95,000 of us school board members. Quoting a "great Ethiopian proverb," he added, "When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion."

Wooten said the Joint Annual Conference program was full of ways to help advocate on behalf of school children in Illinois.

In closing, Wooten added: "I fully believe you are doing God's work. Thank you for what you do."

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