In 2021, hundreds of new school board members were elected across the state and began their four year term. This December marks the one year anniversary for those new board members. I reached out to a number of newly elected board members and asked them to share some of their experiences since taking office.
Today, we’re spotlighting Bob Hickey. Hickey is a school board director serving the Council Rock School District in Bucks County.
1. What have you enjoyed the most about being a school board director?
Adding a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) special to our elementary education has been the most enjoyable so far. In addition, passing a budget with a tax increase under 1.5%. In January, we are offering Nights for Knowledge, which we hope will close the gap with math learning loss due to the pandemic. We also hired a new Superintendent whose mantra is “Students First, Always.” I have really enjoyed getting to know the many personnel who make this district tick.
In addition, part of my responsibility as a School Board Director is to serve on the Middle Bucks Institute of Technology board. This allows me to see education from both traditional and non-traditional methods.
2. What surprised you the most when you joined the board?
How all these intricate pieces complete a constantly-evolving puzzle to educate children. There are so many moving parts that need to be in sync.
3. What do you like the least about being a school board member?
The fact that I don’t know as much as I thought before I started.
4. How much time do you spend monthly on board duties?
That’s hard to say, as I don’t know if this is a “normal” year.
There were many new hires, both at the district and the Technology Institute, which required numerous hours of interviews and screening. On a regular basis, we have committee meetings in addition to the televised monthly general board meeting. There is preparation time required for all these meetings depending on the subject matter. You also have correspondence with all constituents, whether by phone, text, email, or in person. These constituents include, but are not limited to: administration, students, teachers, parents, taxpayers, and other board members.
I really don’t pay attention to how much actual time I spend. I wish I had more time during school hours to get a deeper understanding of the learning process and how to make it better.
5. Do you have school-age children?
6. If yes, do they attend the district where you serve?
My wife Maureen and I had eight children attend school in Council Rock. A Council Rock education is a major reason I moved here. It’s a way to give back to the district that was so great for my family.
7. Knowing what you know now, would you have still run for office last year?
8. Do you think you will run again when your term is over?
If others feel I was an effective director and I can make a positive impact, I will consider another term. For now, I just want to concentrate on the job at hand.
9. Were you welcomed to the board by other board members?
Most definitely, and they continue to do so.
10. How much communication do you have with your constituents?
See number four.
11. Anything else you would like to share?
This first year has been both rewarding and humbling. I look forward to personally growing and moving the district forward.
Beth Ann Rosica holds a Ph.D. in Education and has dedicated her career advocating on behalf of underserved children and families. She owns a consulting business and lives with her family in West Chester, Pa.