Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Becker: Best Leaders Will Put Others First

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Becker: Best Leaders Will Put Others First

Article excerpt

Days before her last Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp. board meeting, Sally Becker was considering what she wanted to convey about her seven-year tenure on the board. "This has been seven years of good reasoning and good reflection," Becker said. "This has not been a board interested in being in the headlines. We've been very active and engaged, but quietly. This board has always kept its eyes on collaboration and compromise."

Becker believes that a local board is meant to represent the public's interest, to be policymakers but not micromanagers. A leader who always has valued what education brings to a community, Becker says the most effective leaders are those committed to education without individual or personal agenda, those who are self- aware.

Most importantly, she says, it is important to respond to constituents, to listen, to serve on committees, to dig deeper into urban education issues of interest and to avoid being partisan.

"This is a board that has responded well," she says.

Always an introspective listener, Becker has asked questions of teachers, administrators, students and educational leaders and has tried to be open to the answers she hears, even when the information is disconcerting.

"We are meant to be deliberative," Becker says. "The hallmark of a good board is to lead by reason, best practice and strategic thinking."

Becker was first elected to the board in 2006, and one of her main interests throughout her tenure has been family engagement. She believes it is the foundation of all else in education.

"A strong policy is needed," she says, "one that charges schools to regard parents as equal partners in the education of their children. They are, after all, our children's first and most important teachers."

Becker responded to EVSC's need to articulate and "adopt policies that welcomed and involved parents in their children's education. …

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