Thursday, February 18, 2016

Division Leadership Workshop
informs, develops, celebrates

IASB staff presenters shared ideas with 45 division leaders.
Forty-five school board members recently attended the second IASB Division Leadership Workshop, designed to strengthen leadership skills, network with other division leaders, understand their roles and responsibilities, and be recognized for service to the Association.

“This is where you get a voice,” one division leader noted about division governance and the opportunity it gives to local school boards to discuss challenges and concerns with similarly situated boards and with IASB leadership.

IASB staff facilitated the workshop. “There were many moments when leaders from varied divisions could share their experiences and ideas,” said Perry Hill, IASB field services director for the South Cook, Three Rivers, and West Cook divisions. “These moments affirmed a spirit of collaboration and comradery that may contribute to an infusion of innovation within a host of future division activities.”

Participants commented favorably on the workshop, which helped them develop awareness of how they can make a contribution in their leadership position, network with others in similar roles and with shared ideas, and learn more about IASB, especially the differences in leadership challenges among the 21 divisions.

The workshop, held Jan. 30 in Lisle, opened with a history of IASB and an overview of its current work, including advocacy on behalf of school boards. Participants also took an individual leadership skills survey based on “How Good Are Your Leadership Skills?” from Mind Tools ( and had a lively discussion of the results.

“Seeing these results, I would also like to see a cross-evaluation as well as a self-evaluation,” suggested participant Don Clayberg, resolutions chair for the Kishwaukee Division and member of the Sycamore CUSD 427 school board. Leadership styles vary within and across school boards. Identifying, evaluating and understanding the differences helps a board work more effectively.

The Association’s popular biannual division dinner meetings were another topic that led to an engaging interactive session. Division meetings are opportunities for networking, professional development, updates on IASB offerings, and recognition of leadership development. Division leadership is selected and presented at these meetings as well. As with bylaws and leadership positions, the format and topics selected for each division’s meetings reflect the challenges, needs, and wishes of the school boards in that division.

Serving in division leadership is ideal for school board members who wish to play a larger role in the Association. The Division Leadership Workshop was designed to assist these leaders in their positions, which includes chairs, vice chairs, resolutions chairs, and an IASB director for each division. Based on local needs, some divisions also name other officers as well.

Each position and corresponding duty was also defined. Division chairs are the chief elected officers of each division and presiders at division meetings. The vice-chairs assist the chair and preside in the absence of the chair. The division director represents the division on the IASB Board of Directors and provides a link from the IASB Board to the division membership. The resolutions chairs represent their division on the IASB Resolutions Committee, which reviews the member resolutions that ultimately become positions that establish the direction of IASB’s advocacy work.

Sharing presenter responsibilities at the Jan. 30 workshop were Cathy Talbert, Barbara Toney, Laura Martinez, and Perry Hill of the field services department; as well as Deanna Sullivan from governmental relations; and Sandra Kwasa from board development.

“This workshop was created for division leadership to provide an opportunity for education and celebration,” said Talbert. “We are pleased that so many of our division leadership were able to participate in the workshop and that they found it a valuable learning experience.”

IASB divisions represented at the workshop were Central Illinois Valley, DuPage, Kishwaukee, Lake, North Cook, Northwest, South Cook, Southwestern, Three Rivers, West Cook, and Wabash Valley. IASB officers in attendance were President Phil Pritzker, Past President Karen Fisher, and Treasurer Thomas Neely. Also offered in Springfield last fall, a total of 68 division leaders attended the two workshops.

“The workshop was an opportunity for IASB to celebrate and thank the division officers for their commitment to their respective divisions,” said Toney, “and for the division officers to understand the very important role that they fulfill in order to offer meaningful and relevant division meetings to all our members. It was a great day!”

Breakout session conversation
Leadership in action

Celebrating leadership at the Division Leaders Workshop