NSBA's incoming president: The power of one

Never forget the power of one to turn hopes and dreams into reality, new NSBA President ElizaBeth “Beth” Branham told attendees at NSBA’s 79th Annual Conference in Philadelphia at the conference’s final general session on Monday.

“Each of us is just one. Just one of our country’s 90,000 school board members, just one of the hundreds of thousands of school leaders and educators,” Branham said. “And while those numbers seem large, and our collective power and voice is strong, we need to remember the power we each individually possess.”

An attorney and school board member for Lexington School District Two in West Columbia, South Carolina, for nearly 20 years, Branham becomes the first NSBA president from South Carolina.

She also has served as president and a member of the board of directors with the South Carolina School Boards Association. She started her professional career as a high school English teacher for Lexington School District Two.

Branham told Monday’s NSBA audience about some of the many people who helped pave the way for her to become NSBA president, including her great-great aunt Hattie Derrenbacher. More than 100 years ago, Derrenbacher began teaching local children at the kitchen table of her home in the mill town of Granby, South Carolina, “because there is no other place for learning at that time,” Branham said.

Eventually, Derrenbacher moved to a small schoolhouse where more and more children could receive a free education. And then, a school district was formed, and many more schools were built. “What Hattie started in her kitchen became what is now known as Lexington County School District” -- home to 15 schools, 9,000 students, and 900 employees, and serving five towns, Branham said.

“And it all started with just one lady, who believed that just one child should have a chance at a better future, and that this education should be free,” she added. “So many hopes and dreams came true because of Hattie. So many hopes and dreams come true because of public schooling.

“As it began in my hometown and in so many of your towns across America, public education began because people believed in its power and what it can do for just that one child, and our beliefs haven’t changed.

“I could not be prouder to be a part of this association and to be leading the charge for public education at such an important time in our nation’s history,” Branham said. “It Is our collective voices and efforts that will make the difference in the lives of children and it all begins with just one of you.” 


Go to top