BISD trustee learns about adapting to changes in recent Leadership TASB session

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Bullard Independent School District continues to be represented by a member of the district’s Board of Trustees taking part in a statewide program aimed at bettering public education across the state of Texas.

Elected to the Place 6 chair of the Bullard ISD school board in May 2016 and also currently serving as the governing body’s secretary, Bullard ISD trustee Jon Jacobs joined 30 other school board members from across Texas at the third session of the Leadership TASB Class of 2018, held Thursday through Saturday, Wednesday through Friday, Feb. 28-March 2.

“Bullard ISD is honored to have Mr. Jon Jacobs serve as part of the leadership program for TASB,” said Todd Schneider, Bullard ISD Superintendent. “His commitment to this community and our school district demonstrates his passion for the future of public education. The TASB Leadership Program is instrumental in shaping the future of public schools through informed leadership.”

Jacobs is a mortgage broker with Eagle Home Loans in Tyler. He has two daughters; Heather and Hayley; and two sons that attend Bullard High School, Parker, and Chase; as well as two granddaughters: Katelyn and Kinzey. He has been a resident of Bullard for approximately five years and a resident of the Tyler-Bullard-Flint area for almost 40 years.

Selected by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), the group, participating in a yearlong education leadership study program, represents school districts of all sizes, with student populations from 184 to 83,270 students, and reflecting a similar range of property wealth.

Participants who complete all required elements of the study will graduate next year by earning Master Trustee status, the highest designation recognized by TASB.

Meeting in Galveston, the board members began their session by touring Texas City and Galveston ISDs. Featured speakers were Will Richardson, well-known author, educator, and reform leader; and Amy Lynch, a nationally recognized expert on generational differences.

According to Jacobs, the experience in visiting Galveston ISD was focused around the aspect of the district recovering from the effects of Hurricane Ike in 2008. The district has opened schools since the storm, some as recent as the 2016-2017 school year.

“It was a great experience for us to see and learn about the recovery process of Galveston ISD after Hurricane Ike,” said Jacobs. “It’s been a long recovery process; in fact, one of the district’s middle schools that shut down afterwards just opened up last school year. To see and discuss such a catastrophic event and the impact on the district was very eye-opening. Galveston ISD lost approximately 2,000 students due to relocation which as a huge financial impact on the operations of the district. As of the sessions, Galveston ISD was still waiting on reimbursement from FEMA, almost 10 years later.”

Likewise, Jacobs and the Leadership TASB team visited Texas City ISD. In December 2015, then-Texas Commissioner of Education Michael Williams today formally notified Texas ISD that the district would annex the La Marque ISD into the Texas City ISD beginning in the 2016-2017 school year.

The decision to merge the two districts came after Williams assigned an accreditation status of “Not Accredited-Revoked” to La Marque ISD and ordered the district’s closure, effective July 1, 2016.

By law, a school district that is closed by the Commissioner of Education must be annexed into an adjoining district.

“Although the former La Marque ISD merged with Texas City ISD almost two years ago, the students, teachers, administrators, and even the two cities are still trying to embrace the change,” said Jacobs. “Texas City and La Marque were longtime historic rivals, and now they’re all together, so it’s a little different. La Marque is more than likely not going to get its own school district again, so they’ll have to learn to cope with having a two high school district.”

With lessons learned from the visits to Galveston and Texas City ISDs, Jacobs said the overwhelming theme of the third Leadership TASB was how to adapt when faced with various aspects of adversity.

“As school officials, we have to be able to face changes head on when they come, whatever those changes happen to be,” said Jacobs. “While I don’t anticipate Bullard ISD to go through the examples of these two districts, the underlying experience was all about embracing change and doing what is best for students at Bullard ISD.

Each session has a unique theme that builds on the previous session and features nationally recognized experts in the fields of leadership development and education. Teams also work throughout the year on extended learning assignments between meetings.

TASB is a voluntary, nonprofit association established in 1949 to serve local Texas school boards. School board members are the largest group of publicly elected officials in the state. The districts they represent serve more than 5.3 million public school students.

According to the program’s website, Leadership TASB inspires school board trustees to be proactive, visionary leaders who promote educational excellence for all children in Texas public schools.

The program’s goals include challenging, developing, and supporting emerging leaders; serving as a catalyst for mentoring and networking among school board trustees; providing all school board trustees with a peer-level resource for information and assistance; increase personal involvement in state and local activities that contribute to the growth and enhancement of school board trusteeship; and heightening knowledge of and influence policy on state and national issues.

Created in 1993, Leadership TASB has more than 800 graduates to date. Participants who complete all required elements of the study will graduate next year by earning Master Trustee status, the highest designation recognized by TASB.

Leadership TASB program participants gain connections and learn skills helping them to perform activities after their graduation from the program, such as serving as a mentor for new trustees; building community coalitions with citizens, community groups, and local businesses to support public education; speaking to citizens and community groups about education issues; sharing knowledge of innovative programs around the state with educators in their districts and community; and writing editorials about education for local newspapers and submitting articles about effective practices to Texas Lone Star Magazine.

Participants in Leadership TASB also testify before the Texas Legislature and State Board of Education; assist with or leading training sessions for board candidates and trustees; assume leadership roles in area school board associations; serve on TASB advisory committees and developing new products and services for school boards and leadership teams; serve as an advisor for state-wide education initiatives; and continue to communicate with fellow graduates to share ideas and solutions to public education’s challenges.

For more information about Leadership TASB, visit www.tasb.org/Services/Leadership-Team-Services/Training/Leadership-TASB.aspx.

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