NSBA's new president delivers inaugural message

New NSBA president Kevin E. Ciak urged attendees at NSBA’s 77th Annual Conference in Denver to be inspired by the opportunity and promise of the Class of 2030 – those students who will enter kindergarten in the fall of 2017. Ciak spoke at Monday’s General Session.

“As school board members, we power the future of our nation’s economic engine,” said Ciak, who has served on the board of New Jersey’s Sayreville Public Schools for more than 20 years. “And while most corporate boards are relentlessly focused on their customers, we as school boards are focused on something far more precious and valuable: the 50 million public school children across this great land.”

Ciak, who was first elected to his school board at the age of 19, was elected a member of NSBA’s Board of Directors in April 2011. He served as secretary-treasurer in 2015 and as president-elect in 2016. Ciak served as president of the New Jersey School Boards Association from 2006-08.

Of the 3 million students who will start school in fall 2017, “some will enter ready and willing to learn, raised on a steady stream of new words and learning experiences, already knowing their alphabet. But others will not be so fortunate,” Ciak said. “They will have had no preschool, no Sesame Street or similar experiences to enhance their cognitive, social, and emotional development.”

For too many, the free or reduced-price school meal on the first day of school may be the most nutritious and satisfying meal they have that day, while others will arrive with learning disabilities that will need to be overcome, or as English Language Learners needing other special instruction.

Such challenges must not stop school leaders from working to ensure that all students have the opportunity to achieve their dreams, Ciak said. To reach that goal, he urged board members to help take America’s school boards from “good” to “great.”

“As I travel this country in my next year as president, I encourage state school board associations not only to invite me to their state school board conference but also to invite me to visit a local school district to experience an innovative educational program,” Ciak said.

“Together, we will Stand up for Public Schools!”


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