Sunday, July 14, 2024

Barbara Townsend earns Master Trustee designation

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Barbara Townsend, a trustee of Granbury Independent School District (GISD), has been awarded the prestigious title of Master Trustee after completing the TASB program, an initiative sponsored by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB). Townsend and 32 other school board members from various Texas school districts achieved this designation by fulfilling all program requirements, marking the highest recognition offered by TASB.

During a board of trustees meeting on June 24, GISD Superintendent Jeremy Glenn congratulated Townsend, stating, “Over the weekend, our board president Barbara Townsend completed her yearlong education with the Texas Association of School Boards, graduated from Leadership TASB, and became a Master Trustee.”

“This is a voluntary program, and I am only the third GISD trustee to ever graduate from it,” Townsend shared. “The other two are Dr. Barbara Herrington and John Mark Graves.” The Leadership TASB program, which accepts up to 35 participants annually, aims to enhance trustees’ skills. Applicants must have served as a trustee for at least 18 months. Townsend detailed her experience, stating, “Some of my master classes included topics like how policy impacts opportunities for at-risk students, communication skills to build consensus, and what to expect from the 89th Legislative Session. We also visited school districts across the state to learn from their strengths and weaknesses.”

The Leadership TASB class met with TASB’s Summer Leadership Institute in Fort Worth, attracting over 1,000 school leaders. The institute provided comprehensive training on effective board governance, featuring keynote speeches from education experts and offering district showcases and networking opportunities.

“Our class designed four courses for new trustees,” Townsend explained. Leadership courses included Trustee Onboarding - How to Incorporate New Trustees into The Team of Eight, School Finance Basics, The Relationship between the School Board and the Superintendent, and Best Practices for Board Operating Procedures. These courses aim to provide essential knowledge and skills to new trustees, ensuring effective governance and leadership in their respective districts.

On June 13-15, the Granbury board of Trustees, along with Townsend, participated in the summer Leadership courses in San Antonio. The program focused on five critical issues in Texas public education: equity in funding, teacher retention, student mental health, technology integration in classrooms, and enhancing parental engagement.

Following the graduation ceremony on June 22, Leadership TASB participants joined over 1,000 school board members statewide as alumni.

Reflecting on her experience, Townsend said, “I now have 32 trusted friends from diverse districts across the state who are as passionate about public education as I am. They are my sounding board and resource for bringing new concepts to our board to improve the governance of Granbury ISD. I am more passionate than ever about the importance of public education as the great equalizer and its role in ensuring democracy flourishes.”

TASB, established in 1949, is a voluntary, nonprofit association serving local Texas school boards. The school board members, the largest group of publicly elected officials in Texas, represent districts serving more than 5.5 million public school students.