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INGALL: Strong schools build a strong Grand Haven, and we have our school board to thank

• Jan 11, 2019 at 12:00 AM

The key to a strong future for Michigan’s children and a strong future for our communities is a strong public education system. Every day, our students count on Grand Haven Area Public Schools to help prepare them for a successful future.

But whether you realize it or not, our entire community counts on that work to prepare the Grand Haven community for a successful future. We educate future leaders, business owners, employees and residents. That work doesn’t happen in a vacuum — it takes an entire community to ensure students have access to needed resources, safe buildings and quality education.

One piece of that community is made up of ordinary citizens with an extraordinary dedication to public schools: our school board members. They approach this volunteer work like it is a full-time job. In fact, some see their work on the board as even more important than their chosen profession.

The school board is in charge of establishing a vision for the education program, overseeing the design of a structure to achieve that vision, ensuring schools are accountable to the community and strongly advocating for continuous improvement in student learning.

The job of a school board member is tough, the hours are long, and the thanks are few and far between. Too often we’re quick to criticize school board members without really understanding the complex nature of their decisions. They must weigh a variety of factors when considering educational decisions; but, ultimately, they always put our students first.

January marks the observance of School Board Recognition Month, and I would like to thank these servant leaders for their tireless efforts. In Grand Haven, that includes John Siemion, Carl Treutler, Seth Holt, Christine Baker, James O'Neal, Nichol Stack and Chris Streng.

I’d also love for all of us to seek a better understanding of how local trustees work together to prepare today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders. I encourage you to join with others throughout the Tri-Cities, state and nation to salute the men and women who provide grassroots governance of public schools — our committed and dedicated school board.

— Andy Ingall is the superintendent of Grand Haven Area Public Schools.

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