Archive for Thursday, July 19, 2007

New board president emphasizes teamwork

July 19, 2007

Teamwork.

That is the goal Janine Gracy had in mind at her first meeting as De Soto School Board president Monday.

"I really think the board needs to look like a team because that's what we are -- a group of individuals who are here for a common goal," Gracy said. "A team is much stronger than an individual alone."

Board members unanimously voted for Gracy as the president of the 2007-08 school board, following the board's tradition of voting in the vice president as the new president. Larry Meyer was elected as vice president with a vote of 6-1 with board member Randy Johnson voting no.

The board also welcomed three new board members: Tim Blankenship, Bill Fletcher and Jim Thomas. Last year's board president Don Clark started a new term.

One of Gracy's first actions as president was to have the board members set norms or guidelines to follow. Gracy has had experience setting norms with other groups she is involved in and has found it to be successful.

"It promotes a sense of trust and a sense of honesty that we are all on the same page," she said.

It also provides a way for board members to point out when others are not following the norms, Gracy said.

"You can call somebody on it and say, 'I think you're violating our norm of respect. Can you rephrase what you just said?'" she said.

Board members brainstormed ideas for what they would like to be norms and made a list that included respect, trust, district unity, support for board outcomes, children first taxpayers second, meeting preparation, policy direction rather than micromanagement and deference to the board president as official spokesperson for large issues like a crisis.

Board members will set official goals at the next meeting set for August 6.

Gracy said she had ideas of what she would like some of the board's goals to be.

"We still need to focus on student learning," she said.

Math has been a large focus of the board for the last few years, but Gracy hoped the board will take on a new focus.

"Not that math isn't important," she said.

Gracy said she was very passionate about what she does despite having served on the board only two years.. Her four-year term will end in 2009.

"This is a volunteer position and I take this position very seriously," she said.

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