A Solution Oriented Partnership Between School Boards and Legislators

School board member sees healthier relationship with her state policymakers

I’ve interviewed over a hundred district superintendents in the past year or so, and one encouraging trend I’m hearing is the positive changing relationships between superintendents and their school boards. Many superintendents are calling their boards “progressive” and citing a newfound ability for everyone to work together for the good of their district.

solidarityThat same unhealthy “us against them” relationship that is now beginning to cool down into a spirit of cooperation has also traditionally happened between school boards and state legislators. It can be counterproductive to the ultimate goal of education oversight, which is improving the educational outcomes of our kids. The Florida Coalition of School Board Members was explicitly formed to smooth over the relationship between boards and educators in the state of Florida.

Bridget Ziegler is a founding member of the group. “Our core principles are solution-oriented partnerships, parental control, and reasonable accountability,” she says about the coalition. “A lot of us are parents, so we're looking at it from the kids’ and families’ perspective and not from the 'system’s' perspective.”

So far the group has been successful in changing the culture, encouraging legislators and school board members to work together on policies and decisions that will improve education for the kids of Florida in the future. I think a lot of policymakers around the country are going to be interested in taking a similar approach.

About Bridget Ziegler

Bridget ZieglerBridget Ziegler is a founding member of the Florida Coalition of School Board Members and serves as the current Vice Chair of the Sarasota County School Board.  She was appointed to fill a vacancy by Governor Rick Scott and elected to a four-year term in November of 2014.

Bridget is also a Vice President at Marsh & McLennan, the global leader in risk management and insurance broking, where she consults businesses on complex risk transfer strategies and program implementation.

Follow Bridget Ziegler on Twitter.

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