July 16, 2004
Two members of the Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education have been picked to take part in a major nationwide effort funded by Los Angeles-based philanthropist Eli Broad to reform urban schools.
Board Members Jon Meyer and Felton Williams will be brought to Park City, Utah for the unique program bringing together school board members from 10 urban districts July 24 through 30 for an intense crash program in reform.
"Long Beach is a very important urban school district, and success there can inspire success elsewhere in America," Broad said.
"I asked these two members of the Long Beach Board of Education to come to the Institute because they care about public education, and I know they can be among the leaders of this nationwide effort to improve the way public schools are governed," Broad said.
All expenses for the training are paid by The Broad Institute.
"This is a great opportunity," said Meyer, a long-time teacher and principal who was elected to the school board last year. "We’re totally committed to steady improvement in student achievement. This year we’re moving into major high school reforms after enjoying considerable success in elementary and middle schools."
"Every student can and must learn," said Williams, newest Long Beach school board member who earned his Ph.D. at Claremont University studying under renowned economist Peter Drucker. "Our schools won the Broad Prize for Urban Education, but we still have work to do to close the achievement gap. It’s imperative that we build on our success, learn all we can, and share what works."
Williams, who replaces retiring Board President Bobbie Smith, will be installed as a new board member on Monday, July 19.
Meyer and Williams will join new board members from Atlanta, Denver, Cleveland, Memphis, Providence, Charlotte, Wichita, Anchorage and Christina (Delaware), for the program.
The Broad Institute for School Boards is a national training and support program for newly elected and newly appointed urban school board members. Each summer, the Institute conducts an intensive one-week residential learning experience modeled after Harvard University’s program for new mayors and new members of Congress. The Institute team is led by Don McAdams, former board president of the Houston Independent School District and a nationally recognized expert on school boards.
This year’s Institute for School Boards will mark the third time Broad has put new school board members from 10 urban districts through the program designed to "teach new board members early on how to be effective policy and reform leaders – in short, how to stay focused on student achievement," Broad said.
There is reason for optimism that the reform effort is taking hold.
"This is the third class of new board members we have put through this intense training, and already we’re seeing some results," Broad said. "In more than a dozen urban districts around the country, the focus on student achievement is a little sharper and governance for reform is a little more effective. And we have just begun."