Board Member Report

Board Member Report (2020-12-07)

Revised for publication.

First I want to congratulate our returned board members, Ms. Mallo and Ms. Delmont-Small and newly elected board members: Dr. Lu, Ms. Mosley and Ms. Watts. I often make mistakes using he or she. So please forgive me if I make similar mistakes in the future.

The world has been different and might never be the same for many reasons due to the pandemic as well as the election. We are facing un’precedented challenges to provide a quality and safe learning environment for our students. 

There have been some discussions on our new board leadership and some of them were difficult conversations. The conversation keeps evolving. We have a diverse and capable board. Listening empathetically and working respectfully across diversity and social differences  to reach a solution is not easy, in many ways. 

I truly appreciate the opportunity to serve as the board chair. It is both an honor and huge responsibility. 

Let’s reset and start anew.  We are all here to serve the public. Let’s work together to have a board that will have the priority to serve the students and families in Howard County.

For the board functionality and board member relationship, I want to share some suggestions for an effective board I learnt while serving on Columbia Association board as following: 

  1. Don’t make random or wild assumptions or accusations of other board members. 
  2. Speak kindly and don’t speak ill. Don’t embarrass, belittle or humiliate other board members deliberately. 
  3. Respect other board members’ opinions and votes.  There will be different opinions and votes from time to time.  Let’s try not to take it personally. 
  4. Respect other people’s time. We have to run the board efficiently while giving every board member enough time to share his/her opinion. 

For me, as a board chair, I believe in the collective ingenuity of the board and passionate service of each board member.  I will serve in a coordinator role and encourage every board member to take different initiatives and leadership roles. I believe each board member is an equal part of the board and should work together in that spirit. Each board member should have the opportunity to serve as chair or vice chair if he/she wants to serve in those roles and have the support specified in the approval procedure during their four year terms. 

Another spirit is to have enough discussions before we make motions. Let’s separate our board discussion into two parts: having discussion first, then talking about making motions.

Let’s continue our journey to provide quality education for all of our students. We are facing many challenges. Covid-19 pushed us to adapt the virtual learning model, which has presented many challenges for our students,including but not limited to students of special education, students of foreign language learners, students who need face-to-face instructions, students who have internet connection issues, etc. As the vaccine will soon become available to the general public, I believe our society including our  school system will be able to fully reopen gradually. We need to create a plan to prepare for that moment. I believe we need to provide extra education opportunities through innovation, partnership and other out-of-box solutions for our students during this transition time, next summer and beyond.  

Let’s discuss all potential ideas, put them on the table, examine them carefully and find options that are pragmatic, efficient and effective to serve our students. 

We are in this together. We have always been. Let’s work together and go through this turbulent time together. We can and we will prevail.

Thanks you.