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 Jason Saylor. Saylor is a school board director serving the Perkiomen Valley School District in Montgomery County.
1. What have you enjoyed the most about being a school board director?
Oddly, I enjoy looking at all the data that is presented to the board, from the budget to all the anecdotal evidence and fact-based evidence for education. I also enjoy being more actively engaged with our Perkiomen Valley community.
2. What surprised you the most when you joined the board?
I don’t think I have been surprised by anything yet. I think I had a full understanding of the role of a school director and have not yet been shocked by anything.
3. What do you like the least about being a school board member?
This is an interesting question. At times, I come home from a school meeting feeling stressed, asking myself why I would do this for free. But I wake up re-energized the next day, understanding the crucial role we play and how important it is to have calm, engaged board members.
4. How much time do you spend monthly on board duties?
There are four weeks in a month. Week 3 (after the board meeting) is the most relaxing. Week 4 starts the process over again with the agenda review cycle, and then week 1 (work session) and week 2 (board meeting). I would say I am spending 10–20 hours a month reading agenda items and budgets, etc.
5. Do you have school-age children?
6. If yes, do they attend the district where you serve?
Yes; ninth grade at our high school.
7. Knowing what you know now, would you have still run for office last year?
Yes, without a doubt.
8. Do you think you will run again when your term is over?
9. Were you welcomed to the board by other board members?
Depends what you mean by “welcomed.” We came off an election cycle where the board majority was flipped. There has been deep distrust, and there are vastly different thought processes on some issues that cause disharmony — but at the end of the day, the work gets done.
10. How much communication do you have with your constituents?
Personally, a lot. I am very active in our community and hold roles on two other boards, which puts me in front of our voters a lot.
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.