This title of this post can apply to a few members of your Schiller Park District 81 School Board. Patricia Godziszewski, and David C Stachura often if not always work to the exact contrary of the following key points that many attribute to an “Effective School Board Member”
1. Going solo’s a no-no
You were elected to your board as an individual. You’ve got issues that are priorities for you. And you’ll get a lot of individual attention early on from friends, school employees, and community members who want you to tackle particular problems. The early temptation will be to say “yes’ and use your power to fix things.
This is a continuing problem with Patricia Godziszewski, and Dave Stachura. They have continued to go at it alone so to speak, and have since the start. They continue to listen to the temptation to say “yes” to using their power to try and help those that benefit their own needs, or the needs of their friends. Whether it is Roy F McCampbell, or a specific group of parents who have concerns over the school schedule, they listened strictly for political gain ~ votes~.
2. Respect the team
You were elected as an individual, but you’ll work as part of a team. The best way to succeed as a board is to practice collaboration and respect. Because boards deal with extremely difficult and vexing issues — from budgets to grievances and everything in between — it’s common for emotions to sometimes run high. Keep in mind that you’re in this for the long haul, and the best way to succeed is to be part of a strong team. Boards whose members treat one another with respect tend to be the most effective. Those whose members give in to acrimony tend to get less done.
Does Patricia Godziszewski, and David C Stachura treat their position on the school board as one of collaboration, or as a team? The answer is a resounding no. No matter what the situation there is always a solution, and that solution can not be found if portions of the team toss the respect given them back in the other members faces. It goes hand in hand with not going at it alone. The Schiller Park School Board is not a team, it is two groups of people. One group consisting of three individuals, and one group of four team members. The three have no respect for the team, or any team for that matter. They continue to show it at every monthly meeting, and with every disrespectful “secret” letter written.
3. Understand the difference between board and staff
Effective board members refrain from trying to perform management functions that are the responsibility of the superintendent and staff. As a board member, it is your responsibility (along with your fellow board members) to ensure that the schools operate well. But it is not your responsibility to run them. That’s what the superintendent is for.
I have not seen a single proper example of either Patricia Godziszewski, or David Stachura’s ability to provide the proper tools to the administration of your children’s school district. The inability to provide proper support with an open minded attitude to change has greatly reduced the administration’s ability to properly conduct the day-to-day business.
4. Share and defend your views, but listen to the views of others
Your board sets the standard for communication within the district. Do you want your district to be open to a thorough discussion, or are you more interested in your own point of view? School board members must have the ability to compromise. You won’t “win” on every issue you care about. More importantly, sometimes you’ll find that the information, perspectives, and ideas others have may change your mind, or lead to a new and even better collaborative idea.
Inability to defend their views with an open enough mind to listen to the concerns of others. Take the letter. There is questions and concerns as to its meaning and intend, David Stachura and Patricia Godziszewski have demonstrated their ability to defend their views no matter how unprofessional. They also lack the ability to respect the views, and concerns of others.
5. Do your homework and ask tough questions
Members of effective boards come to meetings prepared to engage in discussions, ask questions, and seek clarification. A lot of background information is required to make policy and assess accountability. In meetings, asking sharp questions can help clarify issues not just for yourself, but for students, families, the community, and even school system employees.
To quote the often repeated, and very famous words of Patricia Godziszewski “I am not prepared”. How many times have those of you who attend or view the meetings heard that? Or the newly made classic “I will not answer that without Dave” even though the subject was clearly posted on the meeting agenda, with ample time to prepare given.
6. Respect your oath
Local school board membership is a public office and a public trust. New members swear an oath to uphold laws pertaining to public education. An important aspect of the public trust is to maintain confidentiality when appropriate. Many issues considered by school boards must be handled in confidence, in executive or closed sessions. These commonly include personnel issues, legal matters, negotiations, land acquisition, and grievances.
“An important aspect of the public trust is to maintain confidentiality when appropriate” or in their case when they feel like it. It seems they don’t feel like it often, or don’t completely understand the confidentiality piece.
7. Keep learning
Effective board members participate in professional development and commit the time and energy necessary to be informed and effective leaders. You should understand your school system’s vision, goals, and policies; its current successes, challenges, and opportunities; and the educational environment in your community.
Patricia Godziszewski, and David C Stachura have attended many classes, and advanced their school board education greatly over the last few years. The part they have forgotten is that they need to apply what they have learned to help better the school district, and the children of the community. Instead they have chosen to use it for advancing their own personal agendas, and circumventing the system.
The quotes used in the above paragraphs are from a great article titled 7 Signs of Effective School Board Members
So what would we call a board member who does the exact opposite of all of the above? A rouge school member might be a good place to start.
Rogue school board members in the K-12 sector run roughshod over the norms and standards of behavior expected of public officials appointed or elected to office. They tend to trample on the ideas and cautions of the superintendent, the board chair, and other board members. They place their own interests over the interests of the district. They violate written and unwritten codes of conduct. They often make inappropriate alliances with faculty and staff members and other board members. They recommend and support policies that are not in the best interests of the school. They consume an inordinate amount of staff and meeting time. They know how to get attention, to appeal to the base elements in others, and to manipulate individuals and situations to their advantage (O’Banion, 2009).
This is a description of a rouge school member given by a person with absolutely no connection or knowledge of our district or its issues. Even with zero knowledge they seemed to have just about perfectly described David C Stachura, and Patricia Godziszewski. “They place their own interests over the interests of the district”. “They know how to get attention, to appeal to the base elements in others, and to manipulate individuals and situations to their advantage”. Both of those quotes sound more then familiar to me.
The strategies that presidents of community colleges suggested for dealing with a rogue member of the board are applicable to K-12 school boards. The strategies range from the obvious, such as using sound policies and procedures, to more hardball strategies, such as using political pressure and supporting public censure. Not all strategies work, of course; leaders must select the strategies that are appropriate for their situation and their district culture.
One of the things that works the best in most cases is community pressure. Pressure to do the right thing simply applied by paying attention to the activities of the rouge board member, and forcing them to follow the guidelines of their oath that they during one of the only individual acts of their time on the board swore to uphold.
The quotes above came from a great article I have seen shared on the Internet a few times. http://www.principals.org/Content.aspx?topic=61064