What We Do
School Board Partners selects diverse rising leaders who are representative of their school communities.
Then we train and support them to be more effective board members and to pass kids-first policies that clear the way for research-based interventions and environments to create better experiences and outcomes for students.
In short, we help school board members turn their campaign promises into real policy change for kids.
At School Board Partners our multifaceted impact focuses at four distinct Levels:
Field-building and Research: We actively engage in field-building and research endeavors aimed at cultivating a robust school board ecosystem, both locally and nationally.
> Our Empty Seats Report has been downloaded hundreds of times and cited in over a dozen articles in one year, and several nonprofits have credited it with assisting in their own fundraising and recruitment. The report has also been used in the creation of two state policies - one passed in Oregon requiring equity-focused school board training and allowing compensation, and one under consideration in Chicago to allow compensation.
City and Regional Ecosystem Development: Through strategic partnerships, we support the development of city and regional ecosystems for school board members to advance effective governance.
> Participants in our partnership-based regional school board cohorts are running for school board and winning and report being more effective and impactful school board members through improving governance, passing policy and taking on board leadership roles.
Whole Board Work: Our focus extends to providing comprehensive support to individual school districts and superintendents.
> Our Empowered Governance Model is the first school board governance model to equip Superintendents and School Boards with plug-and-play exemplar policies to ensure their districts implement research-based and equitable environments for students to improve their experiences and outcomes.
Supporting and Developing School Board Members: Recognizing the crucial role school board members play in the educational landscape, we have built best in class training and support services to develop them into effective governance leaders. Our efforts focus on equipping board members with the skills, knowledge, and resources needed to navigate the complexities of their roles effectively.
> Since 2019, we have trained 250 board members, 77% of whom are leaders of color and who have impacted over 6 million kids.
> Our fellows have successfully stepped into President and VP roles on their respective boards, and have passed dozens of exemplar kids-first policies that are paving the way for real change for students, families, educators, and community.
Our Empty Seats Report highlighted an impending crisis that SBP is successfully capitalizing on.
By sustaining and supporting our Fellow's success, they are choosing to run for re-election at far higher rates than their peers...and they are winning:
Percentage of school board members who plan to run for re-election
Percentage of SBP Fellows who ran for re-election
Percentage of SBP Fellows who won re-election
Over the next few years we aim to reach 2,500 school board members and create a tipping point of effective kids-first board members who are creating more equitable and excellent schools for every student in their District.
See Our Impact
We close the representation power gap on school boards by training and sustaining diverse school board members to lead their boards as President/VP
Representative and empowered school board members rewrite historically oppressive policies to help reverse systemic racism in our nation's public schools
Good governance and student-first policies clear the way for research-based, high quality interventions and environments to create better experiences and outcomes for students.
Based on survey data, compared to their peers, School Board Partner Fellows...
Are more likely to be in Board Leadership positions (President/VP)
Have a much higher rate of being re-elected
Are more likely to offer and pass policies that create environments to improve student outcomes and experiences
Are more likely to hire the right Superintendent and hold that leader accountable to high standards
Are more likely to understand the role and focus on using their power to make courageous systemic changes or stand against
Why This, Why Now?
Across the country, our public education system is failing kids — mostly kids from disadvantaged backgrounds — at a rate that threatens the future of our workforce, global competitiveness and long-term economic viability. In the education ecosystem, elected school boards have an outsize effect on policy decisions, yet receive undersized attention from those focusing on changing outcomes for kids. This results in school boards where potential leaders, who are oftentimes volunteers or poorly paid, lack the necessary resources and training , which allows calcified and oppressive policies to stay in place.
Are you driven by a passion to create change? Do you have skills, ideas, and energy to contribute? We're inviting you to be a part of our dynamic team where innovation thrives and impact is tangible.Explore Open Positions at SBP
School Board Partners is a national nonprofit that trains, supports, connects, and re-elects diverse school board members across the country to lead with courage, competence, and impact.
We envision a future in which American school systems are governed by well-trained, diverse, elected leaders who leverage their power to liberate students of color and their families. These leaders re-imagine policies, partnerships, and conditions so that dynamic systems of high-quality schools emerge, improve, and endure.
The realization of this vision is vital to creating a future where all students have the opportunity to thrive and self-actualize.
Our organization and members value:
- Deliberate Inclusion & Belonging
- Diverse Thought Leadership
- Irrational Hope
- Narrative Reclamation
- Righteous Disruptive Impact
- Strategic Bridge Building
- Value-Driven Courage
I am committed, like many of my school board colleagues, to answering the call of this time to address systemic racism within schools. We can’t wait another generation, or even another year, to actively work to change our system. In the end, we all have a part to play in changing our world. If you are leading a system, the burden is on you to root out systemic racism in both policy and practice with the support of experts. For we must be the change that we seek to create.
— Ethan Ashley, SBP Co-Founder, NOLA Public Schools Board President