The Vermont School Boards Association envisions a state where every student has access to and is engaged in a world-class public education, where local boards provide student-focused oversight of education systems, and where educators, families, and communities are engaged partners, ensuring that the futures of all Vermont children are driven by their aspirations, not bound by their circumstances.
The VSBA exists to achieve Vermont’s vision for public education by supporting all school boards to serve as effective trustees for education on behalf of their communities and by providing a strong collective voice toward enhancing the cause of public education in Vermont.
VSBA will support local school boards by:
The Vermont School Boards Association is governed by a 28 member board of directors.
The board of directors determines the direction of the association and develops policies as needed to guide the implementation of association's goals. The board of directors is composed as follows:
For purposes of statewide representation, the state is divided into eleven geographic regions as follows:
Standing Committees of the Vermont State School Boards Association are as follows:
From time to time the board of directors may create ad hoc committees or task forces as needed and appropriate.
The governance structure of the VSBA is outlined in its Bylaws. The activities of the VSBA Board and its staff are guided by its policies which are regularly reviewed and updated.
The president presides over meetings of the Board of Directors and is the chair of the personnel committee.
These articles discuss issues of significance to education officials which either represent the views of the Association or seek to inform school board members on important issues.
- The president is the elected spokesperson of the VSBA and may be called upon to speak on behalf of the organization before the media, the legislature, or other groups. In these representations, the president shall present the positions contained in the official resolutions of the association or the positions voted by the board of directors.
- The president or his or her designee is the representative of the Board of Directors at meetings of the Education Coalition.
- The President prepares articles for inclusion in the VSBA newsletter From the Board Room published ten (10) times yearly.
- The President confers regularly with the Executive Director about issues in which the Association is involved.
- The President confers with the Executive Director to set the agendas for meetings of the Board of Directors.
- The President attends the annual Federal Relations/Leadership meeting (winter), NSBA Convention (spring), NSBA Northeast Region meeting (autumn) and annual NSBA State Presidents' Retreat (summer), if possible.
FIRST VICE PRESIDENT
The First Vice President presides over meetings of the Board of Directors in the absence of the President, is the chair of the Resolutions Committee and is a member of the Personnel Committee.
- As an officer of the Association the First Vice President may be called upon to speak on behalf of the organization before the media, the legislature, or other groups. In these representations, the 1st Vice President shall present the positions contained in the official resolutions of the Association or the positions voted by the Board of Directors.
- The First Vice President will take on other responsibilities as requested by the President.
- The First Vice President attends the annual Federal Relations/Leadership meeting (winter), NSBA Annual Convention (spring) and NSBA Northeast Region meeting (autumn), if possible.
- The First Vice President accepts the position with the intention of accepting nomination for the Presidency.
SECOND VICE PRESIDENT
The Second Vice President is chair of the Bylaws Committee and serves as a member of the Personnel Committee.
- As an officer of the Association the Second Vice President may be called upon to speak on behalf of the organization before the media, the legislature, or other groups. In these representations, the 2nd Vice President shall present the positions contained in the official resolutions of the Association or the positions voted by the Board of Directors.
- The Second Vice President will take on other responsibilities as requested by the President.
- The Second Vice President may attend the annual Federal Relations/Leadership meeting (winter), NSBA Annual Convention (spring) and NSBA Northeast Region meeting (autumn), if possible.
The Treasurer is chair of the Finance Committee and serves as a member of the Personnel Committee. The Treasurer is responsible for reviewing the monthly financial transactions of the Association.
- As an officer of the Association the Treasurer may be called upon to speak on behalf of the organization before the media or the legislature. In these representations, the Treasurer shall present the positions contained in the official resolutions of the Association or the positions voted by the Board of Directors.
- Along with the rest of the Finance Committee, the Treasurer reviews the proposed annual budget.
- The Treasurer periodically reviews investment management strategies.
- The Treasurer reports on year-end financial condition and proposed budget at the annual business meeting.
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT
The immediate Past President provides experience and expertise, serves on the Personnel Committee, is chair of the Nominating Committee and takes on responsibilities as requested by the President.
Two members-at-large serve as officers of the Association, oversee the orientation of new members of the VSBA Board of Directors, and take on responsibilities as requested by the President.
Regional Representatives are responsible for promoting the interests of the Association, presiding at regional meetings, and representing their respective regions on the Board of Directors. They are committed to:
- Attend all Board of Directors’ meetings and voting on action items presented.
- Encourage attendance at the annual conference, regional meetings, and other Association-sponsored events.
- Encourage local boards to take advantage of the resources of the Association.
- Plan and coordinate at least one regional meeting during the year to elect officers and present a topical leadership development workshop.
- Initiate contact with other school boards in their regions about issues facing them. VSBA staff will assist by providing lists of members or providing assistance with mailings or e-mail messages.
- Additional regional meetings may be held if sufficient interest exists. VSBA staff encourages such involvement and will assist with this effort.
REGIONAL ASSOCIATE REPRESENTATIVE
Regional Associate Representatives are responsible for assisting the Regional Representative in his/her duties. They are committed to:
- Attend Board of Directors’ meetings if possible, voting on action items in the absence of the Regional President.
- Encourage attendance at the annual conference, regional meetings, and other Association sponsored events.
- Encourage local boards to take advantage of the resources of the Association.
- Assist in initiating contact with other school boards in their regions about issues facing them. VSBA staff will assist by providing lists of members or providing assistance with mailings or e-mail messages.
- Assist in planning and coordination of at least one regional meeting during the year to elect officers and present a topical leadership development workshop.
- Assist Regional President if additional regional meetings are held.
- The regional vice presidents are members of the State Nominating Committee responsible for nominating a slate of officers each year.
Members Roles and Responsibilities
The VSBA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. It is overseen by a Board of Directors whose primary functions are as follows:
- Establish an overall vision and priorities for the agency.
- Set policy parameters.
- Hire an Executive Director to manage the organization.
- Monitor the performance of the organization.
- Establish a budget and monitor the financial status of the organization. Assist in developing revenue-generation strategies.
- Engage the membership in supporting and participating in the organization and its programs.
The board helps set public policy positions for VSBA. Frequently, during the legislative session, the board meets with key decision-makers to carry clear messages regarding upcoming bills. The board mobilizes structured public education and advocacy as needed.
The board meets ten (10) times yearly. The regularly scheduled meetings occur on the second Wednesday of the month from 5PM to 8PM. Most meetings are held at the VSBA offices in Montpelier. Routinely, the June meeting is expanded and used for a planning retreat.
The expenses of directors and committee members are reimbursed as detailed in VSBA policies.
Board members are urged to take advantage of state, regional, and national opportunities for further professional development. Board members are expected to make every effort to attend the statewide conference.
The staff of the association supports directors in their efforts to engage the interest and involvement of regional board members.
The Vermont School Boards Association is a private non-profit, membership organization with the purpose of providing technical assistance and support to school boards throughout the state and providing a collective voice for strong education policy in Vermont. Approximately 1,500 individuals are members of 288 school boards that are charged by Vermont law with decision making authority in local school districts (16 V.S.A. §563). School districts pay an annual membership fee based on their expenses (see Bylaws, Article IV in Appendix A) to the VSBA that entitles each member school board access to a significant clearinghouse of information, new and veteran school board leadership development workshops, sample policies and other resource manuals, monthly newsletters, legislative updates, annual state conference, electronic networking, and a variety of customized services in addition to legislative advocacy at the state and federal levels. The VSBA also provides for the publication of the Vermont Education Law Book, sells a number of other educational materials, and provides fee-for-service administrator searches.
The precursor to VSBA, the Vermont State School Director’s Association was founded in 1936. The Commissioner of Education managed the organization which met once per year. In 1960 a group of board members voted to start a separate membership organization known as the Vermont School Boards Association. The Vermont Department of Education granted VSBA $1500 in start up funds to hire the first executive director of the association, Charles Nichols, Jr., a former teacher and Proctor school board member. Nichols traveled from town to town soliciting membership dues to raise the balance of his $6,000 salary.
VSBA was incorporated in 1961 as the Vermont School Boards Association, Inc. Its first office was located over the Howard Bank on Main Street in Montpelier. VSBA was then housed in a former clothing store, later at the Miss Montpelier Diner and finally at the former Tavern Motor Inn on State Street until a partnership was formed with the Vermont Superintendents Association and the Vermont Principals’ Association. The 2 Prospect Street Partnership built a new office building on Prospect Street (site of the old State Garage) in 1990.
A separate independent organization, the Vermont School Boards Insurance Trust, was started in 1978 for the purpose of assisting VSBA members with the purchase of insurance related products and services. Today, VSBIT makes available a series of insurance, risk management and related management support programs and services for Vermont schools.
Charlie Nichols, together with the original board of directors, relied a great deal on the Pennsylvania School Boards Association for advice on building the VSBA statewide network. Nichols and Weston Cate, then executive director of the teacher’s advocacy group, the Vermont Education Association, worked together on a great many initiatives and were responsible for developing the framework for the first teacher negotiations bill that was passed in the early 1960s.
Charlie Nichols retired as the executive director of VSBA in 1981. Kathleen Scheele was executive director from 1981 through 1983. Ronald Stephens held the position briefly before Kathy took the helm again in 1984 until Donald Jamieson was hired in 1985. Due to the growing needs of school boards around the state, the position of associate executive director was created in 1989, with John Nelson filling the position. When Don Jamieson retired in 1995, John Nelson took over as executive director and Winton Goodrich was hired as associate executive director. Edith Miller replaced John Nelson in 1997. After an absence of six years, John Nelson returned at the end of 2003 as executive director. John Nelson retired in January of 2011 and Stephen Dale became the executive director. Nicole Mace was hired in October 2011 as the Associate Director of Legal Services.
On the administrative side, Zada Roy, operations manager, succeeded Elaine Goodall, a long-time staff person for Charlie Nichols, in 1982. Zada left Vermont and VSBA for warmer climates at the end of 2001. Kerri Lamb joined the staff as operations manager in November of 2001 and continues to improve staff operations and services to members. Mary Gilbert was hired as a part time administrative assistant in the fall of 2005.
Nicole Mace - Executive Director
With Steve Dale’s departure last week Nicole Mace officially started her service as the Executive Director for the VSBA. Nicole has been with the Association since 2011, serving as General Counsel since 2014. Over the past four years, Nicole has had the pleasure of working with school board members across the state in the areas of policy, collective bargaining, legislative advocacy, and legal information and supports. She has a deep respect for school boards and school board members, who provide a tremendous service to the children, schools and communities of the State of Vermont, and is thrilled to begin her service to the organization during such a dynamic time for public education in Vermont.
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Harry Frank - Director of Board Education Services
Harry’s primary role at the VSBA is to develop and deliver comprehensive education services for school boards and individual board members. He joined the VSBA in 2012, after 25 years in education working as a classroom teacher, building administrator and school board member. Since coming to the VSBA, Harry has worked with boards and board members from across the state to understand and carry out their role and responsibilities in governing.
firstname.lastname@example.org / 802.223.3580 ext. 111
Emily Simmons - Director of Legal and Policy Services
Effective September 1st, Emily Simmons is VSBA’s new Director of Legal and Policy Services. Emily joins the VSBA staff after working for us and our partner education organizations (VSA, VPA, VASBO, VCSEA and VSBIT) as the Legislative Analyst for the 2015 legislative session, where she helped write the bi-weekly Education Legislative Update that many of you rely on for statehouse news during the session. Emily has a background in legislative drafting and research, served as a clerk to the Vermont Legislative Council in 2014, and prior to that as a clerk for the Defender General’s office briefing cases to the Vermont Supreme Court.
email@example.com / 802.223.3580 ext.112
Kerri Lamb - Director of Operations
Kerri has been with the VSBA for 14 years now. She is the bright, cheery voice you generally hear when calling into our office. Kerri is responsible for our event planning, desktop publishing, accounting, website and office coordination. She has served on a local school board and many local school and community committees.
firstname.lastname@example.org / 802.223.3580 ext. 110
Nikki South - Act 46 Implementation Project Director
Nikki facilitates the work of the Act 46 Implementation Project, a collaboration of VBSA, VSA, and VSBIT. Nikki is a former school board member from Maine. Her work there inspired her to go to law school and she is a 2015 graduate of Vermont Law School. Prior to law school, Nikki earned her MBA and worked as an analyst and quality manager. Nikki comes to this work as a mother. Her five-year-old son, Owen, started kindergarten at Montpelier’s Union Elementary School this year. She is heavily invested in ensuring that school board members have the resources they need to implement Act 46.
email@example.com / 207.229.7203