A Unique Learning Experience

It’s been almost seven months since I joined the Thompson Board of Education, and during that time I’ve learned a lot. More than anything, I’ve learned that I still have much to get my head around. But given this opportunity, I thought it might be interesting to share about my experience so far being a member of this 2017-2018 Thompson Board of Education.

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What’s it like to be on the Board of Education?
As a member, I’ve learned that I have very little power individually; as a collective, the Board Members direct the course of the entire School District. You may have heard the rumor, but it’s true: Board Members don’t get paid. I’ve done a lot more reading than I expected, and I’ve learned about just how much depth lies in terms like “Affective Needs,” “Multi-Tiered Systems of Support” and “Personalized Learning”. They weren’t kidding when they said that being a Board Member would require about twenty hours a week. I’ve met incredibly talented people that bring amazing programs to our schools while at the same time finding clever ways to fund them. Just when I think I’ve finally got a handle on it all, another fantastic program like “Give Next” surprises and impresses. We have a strong, generous and giving community with a wealth of knowledge and experience in making our schools do more with less. It’s an exciting time for Thompson!

What are the other Board Members like?
Each Member has their own personality, but shares one very important trait – they put students first. Each brings a unique perspective and a wealth of experience to the Board and although that may lead to some fierce discussions at times, it ultimately helps one another make better, more educated and balanced decisions. I don’t think any of our Board members are willing to settle for second best. I’ve seen each member be passionate about supporting our employees. They fervently believe that we can most effectively serve student needs by having a fantastic teacher in every classroom. I’ve observed each member recognize that every contribution from every employee, every volunteer and every giver from our community is an integral and critical part of our District’s success. I’ve heard each member express how important it is for our District to run in a financially responsible manner – to focus very, very hard on stretching every dollar that’s spent. We argue a lot, we laugh a lot and we enjoy one another. It’s a great team to be a part of.

So who’s this new guy from Boulder?
Our incoming superintendent, Dr. Marc Schaffer, is a true “Steward Leader.”  I was impressed with him during our district interviews and I’m growing more and more impressed as I watch him “build a runway” as he becomes an integral part of Thompson. Already I’ve observed him “walking the talk” as he starts by meeting people and LISTENING, just like he said he would do during our interviewing process. He has great ideas and great experiences and he’s willing to share those when it makes sense – but not to overwhelm or try to over-impress. He brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm to our District. He values the strengths that we see in our District and wants to support those in a spirit of continuous improvement. We’re going to miss Dr. Scheer and I hope we continue to see a lot of him as he continues to be a vital member of our community. I also believe it’s safe to say that we’re in good hands with our incoming superintendent.

 

 

Marc Seter

Thompson School District Board of Education

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