Springfield School Board candidates Danielle Kincaid, Scott Crise and Susan Provance have been endorsed by United Springfield.

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by Carol Taylor, Springfield

The Hauxeda is providing broad coverage of the issues facing our Springfield public schools and valuable information on the candidates running for SPS Board election on April 2. 

With over 45 years serving in both public and private education, I believe that the foundation of our communities rests to a great extent on the quality of our educational systems. The challenges facing educators have never been greater. Missouri State Teachers Association reported in its recent survey of its 2,300 members that 70% of the respondents reported that they have seriously considered leaving the profession. The top reasons given were stress, student behavior, and pay.

It is essential that we have an effective school board to navigate and lead through the myriad of complex challenges facing public education today. The National School Board Association (NSBA) has published a summary of research on effective K-12 school boards and identified characteristics of the most effective boards that have resulted in high achieving districts. Among the findings, effective school boards:

  1. Commit to a vision of high expectations for student achievement and quality instruction and define clear goals toward that vision;
  2. Have strong shared beliefs and values about what is possible for students and their ability to learn, and of the system and its ability to teach all children at high levels;
  3. Are accountability driven, spending less time on operational issues and more time focused on policies to improve student achievement;
  4. Have a collaborative relationship with staff and the community and establish a strong communications structure to inform and engage both internal and external stakeholders in setting and achieving district goals; and
  5. Lead as a united team with the superintendent, each from their respective roles, with strong collaboration and mutual trust.

In my opinion, United Springfield – a grassroots entity whose mission is to support individuals running for nonpartisan office who will work to unite our Springfield children, citizens, and community – has done an excellent job of vetting our current SPS Board candidates aligned with the proven characteristics of effective school boards. Therefore, I am pleased to encourage eligible voters to join me in voting for Danielle Kincaid, Scott Crise, and Susan Provance for SPS Board on April 2.

Carol A. Taylor, Ph.D., served seven years as president of Evangel University in Springfield before retiring in 2020.