Wanted: Board member for USD 410


?It?s best if that person keeps a broad vision of the district and all whom we serve. They have to be able to articulate and understand and promote the vision and purpose and mission of USD 410.?

?Steve Noble

USD 410 superintendent

WANTED: Person from designated area to donate five to 10 hours a month for education leadership job that is meaningful but sometimes thankless.


Applicants for the vacant position on the USD 410 Board of Education must live in District 410-2, which is the blue area on the map. Employees of the district are not eligible.

Passion for children and learning required. Patience and positive people skills recommended. On-the-job training provided.

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The actual advertisement Unified School District 410 has placed for the vacancy on its school board is more cursory than that. But first-year Super?intendent Steve Noble said applicants who fit the above version will be welcomed.

The vacancy emerged when no one filed for the seat vacated by Brent Barkman. It is now designated as ?District 410-2? under the new representation model approved by voters in November.

A few individuals from within the district received write-in votes, but declined an invitation from county commissioners to accept the position.

That put the matter into the hands of the board of education, which decided to advertise for the position, as required by statute.

?The board really wanted to promote this position to see who?s out there,? Noble said. ?I think that?s a pretty good vision for them not to just grab somebody out there whom they know or communicate with or are in contact with quite a bit.

?They want to see all possible interested candidates. I think that?s pretty cool.?

The only legal requirement for the position, Noble said, is that the person live within the designated district (see map). There is one exception: a school board member cannot be employed by the district.

Job expectations

Noble said a school board member can expect to give five to 10 hours to the district in an average month. A key part are the regular meetings on the second Monday of every month.

?If the superintendent has his ducks in a row, the meetings will last as short as possible on Monday night?but still they can run long,? he said with a smile.

A few special meetings may be required over the course of a year, so flexibility in employment obligations is helpful, but not mandatory.

?However they can make that fit,? Noble said. ?It varies from job to job.?

Another duty may be to represent USD 410 on the board of cooperative ventures such as the Marion County Special Educat?ion Cooperative and TEEN (Technology Excellence in Education Network).

Board members may be asked by the superintendent to attend an occasional workshop through the Kansas Association of School Boards.

Another key component of the job is interaction with patrons. A board member can expect a variety of encounters.

?Whenever you?re in a political position, there?s going to be agreements and disagreements in how things ought to operate,? Noble said. ?But you can always be agreeable and reasonable about how that?s handled.?

Preferred characteristics

Beyond the legal requirement or residence, Noble said having a passion for learning and kids is the key characteristic of a good school board member.

?It?s best if that person keeps a broad vision of the district and all whom we serve,? he added as a corollary. ?They have to be able to articulate and understand and promote the vision and purpose and mission of USD 410.?

Noble said a good board member sees the big picture, but also finds ways to make practical decisions for the short-term.

?The person needs to be a visionary, ideally, and to have a progressive mindset because things are ever-changing in schools,? he said.

?At the same time, a person needs to have some non-negotiables that they?re passionate about and feel are important?while taking a very practical approach to solving problems.

?In the end, you can only do what you can do.?

A conceptual understanding of how school funding works would be helpful, Noble added, but not necessary coming in.

?It?s the superintendent?s job to educate and articulate those types of funds to the board so they can understand it and answer questions that are posed to them by the public,? he said.?

Selection process

Persons should submit a letter to the district office on or before Aug. 3 indicating their interest in the position.

The board will consider the applicants during its Aug. 10 meeting. An informal interview will be conducted that night in public session.

?Any type of interview process has to be done in public session because it?s an elected official,? Noble said. ?The board can make the appointment that night if it chooses to.?

But the board is not required to appoint any of the applicants, he added.

?The statute says there?s a minimum of 15 days that have to elapse between publication (of the ad) and the appointment. There?s no maximum to how long you can go without a board member. That?s indefinitely.

?It wouldn?t be my recommendation nor, I think, this board?s practice to want to go indefinitely with a six-member board,? Noble added.

The person who ultimately is appointed to the position will join a board that has impressed Noble in his relatively brief association with it.

?I think this person will come in to a board that has its mission and purpose and goals in the right place for kids and the best interests of this district,? he said.

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