The National School Boards Association (NSBA) Council of School Attorneys (COSA), the national network of attorneys representing K-12 public school districts, is pleased to announce its newly elected leaders and directors. Joy Baskin with the Texas Association of School Boards was elected Chair. Joe Scholler with Frost Brown Todd was elected Chair-elect, Debra Silk with Montana School Boards Association was elected Vice Chair, and Tiffany Richardson with the South Carolina School Boards Association was elected Secretary.

“Throughout what has been an extremely challenging time for our nation’s public schools, the Council of School Attorneys have provided their districts and local schools with outstanding support and guidance,” said Anna Maria Chávez, Executive Director and CEO of NSBA. “I offer my congratulations to COSA Chair Joy Baskin and I look forward to collaborating with her and the newly elected COSA leadership as we continue to raise the bar of excellence in support of public education.”

Joy Baskin, Chair: Baskin is the director of legal services at the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), where she oversees the division’s activities and informs TASB’s other service areas about legal developments. She earned her law degree with honors from The University of Texas School of Law.

“The COSA board is ready to meet the challenge of emerging from the pandemic with lessons learned, greater technical expertise, and renewed excitement for serving our school attorney members,” said Joy Baskin. “We are grateful for the support of NSBA staff and its continued active membership.”

Joe Scholler, Chair-elect: Scholler is an equity partner at Frost Brown Todd, where he leads the Government Services practice group serving schools and other public sector entities. He earned his law degree from the University of Dayton School of Law.

Debra Silk, Vice Chair: Silk is the associate executive director and general counsel at the Montana School Boards Association (MTSBA), where she assists member school districts; provides oversights of association staff, programs, and services; and assists the executive director with board and association matters. She earned her law degree from the University of Idaho.

Tiffany Richardson, Secretary: Richardson is general counsel and director of policy and legal services at the South Carolina School Boards Association (SCSBA), where she advises state school districts on policy development and develops workshops for school attorneys. She earned her law degree from the University of South Carolina.

COSA also elected three new directors to their first two-year term: Shelley Darrell Chatfield, general counsel for Fayette County Public Schools in Lexington, Kentucky; Julie Miller, deputy executive director and general counsel for the Oklahoma State School Boards Association; and Benjamin Torres, assistant executive director and general counsel for the Tennessee School Boards Association.

In addition, COSA elected four directors to a second two-year term: Bridget Cook, general counsel and vice president of legal affairs for the Antelope Valley Community College District in Lancaster, California; Erin O’Grady-Parent, a partner at Guercio & Guercio in Latham, New York; Gary Ruesch, an attorney at Buelow Vetter Buikema Olson & Vliet in Waukesha, Wisconsin; and Jayne Harrell Williams, general counsel and director of legal advocacy with the Alabama Association of School Boards.

COSA supports school attorneys and provides leadership in legal advocacy for public schools; its 22-member Board of Directors oversees its continuing legal education programming and working groups for its more than 3,100 members across the United States and Canada. For more information about COSA, visit www.nsba.org/cosa.

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2020 State of the Association

Full of challenge and change, 2020 was like no other year. NSBA's State of the Association provides a snapshot of the association's advocacy and member services work as well as our ongoing transformation.