MUSCATINE — Two of Muscatine Community School Board members received the 2016-17 annual Better Boardsmanship Award on Nov. 16. The Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) presented both Board President Tammi Drawbaugh and Board Member Tim Bower with the award at a convention in Des Moines.
"We believe it is incredibly important, both for individual board members and board teams, to just be engaged in on-going learning and on-going service as a board member," said Harry Heiligenthal, leadership development director for the Iowa Association of School Boards.
Drawbaugh said that it takes a lot of time and effort to get the credits required to receive the reward.
"It's your level of activity, and really, your level of learning," Drawbaugh said. "It's always been very important to me because we are always talking about being lifelong learners, and I can't think of a better way to do it."
The awards are given each year to individual board members, teams and administrators who dedicate time to participating in association approved functions and actions. These can range from attending certain conferences to penning advocacy articles for publication.
"Boards ask and expect students and staff to learn," Heiligenthal said. "What a great way for boards to model learning themselves. To me, that’s a core item. Modeling to our students, community and staff that we’re learning, too."
With the educational landscape constantly in flux, both Drawbaugh and Heiligenthal said that staying plugged into this conversation helps a board member be an effective leader.
"The laws change every year," Drawbaugh said. "It's important to really understand what those changes are and how they are impacting other districts."
"Things are changing," Heiligenthal said. "School finance doesn’t stay the same. The law changes. Research comes off the turnpike about effective board leadership and what boards can do that makes a difference. What better way to continue doing that work?”
Drawbaugh said that it plugs her into the conversation happening around issues facing other school boards in southeast Iowa.
"You also get to meet a lot of board members," Drawbaugh said. "We share a lot of the same issues. We have a lot of students in poverty. That doesn't just impact Muscatine. It impacts a huge portion of southeast Iowa. What we can learn from each other is really important. That network sharing to me has become very valuable."
For the Individual Achievement Award, board members had to earn 125 credits in one year. Drawbaugh and Bower were among only 57 board members across the state of Iowa to do so.