Beard delivers final address as NSBA president

If anyone doubts that public schools are making a positive impact on children, they only need to walk into our schools to know the truth, said outgoing NSBA president Miranda A. Beard.

On her final day as president, Beard addressed attendees at NSBA’s 77th Annual Conference in Denver during the Sunday General Session. She shared her impressions of the schools she visited and the many school board members and state associations she engaged with during her tenure.

“In my travels, I sought out and expected greatness and I’m happy to say I found greatness achieved,” said Beard, noting numerous moving stories of school leaders’ commitment and students’ successes. “I’m inspired by the devotion and love so obvious for our public education system and the millions of children in our fine schools,” she added.

It is incumbent upon school leaders to make sure that everyone, including lawmakers at the local, state, and federal level, are informed about the best practices and innovative programs at work in our schools, Beard insisted.

Stories of successful efforts to boost literacy, close achievement and opportunity gaps, achieve equity and excellence for all, and enhance community involvement must be shared, she said. “Continuous improvement and turnaround, those are the real stories that should make the front pages of the newspapers and be the lead stories on the evening newscasts.”

These stories speak volume, “not just about what we do, they’re about who we are,” Beard added. “They’re about the students we impact and who in turn inspire and impact us.”

As she prepared to pass the gavel as NSBA president and begin a new chapter in advocacy for public education, Beard showed a quilt made by her late great-grandmother. Containing swatches of material from clothes worn by relatives now long gone, the quilt drew disparate pieces together, ultimately creating “something beautiful, precious, and that serves a greater purpose,” she said.

Public schools share a similarity with that quilt, Beard said. “Every child has purpose and deserves the opportunity to reach their greatest potential from a first-rate education system. Despite where they live, their ethnic background, their physical or emotional challenges, or how much money they have. It doesn’t matter. It shouldn’t matter.”

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