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NSBA Announces New Phase of Work to Advance Equity and Excellence in Education and Appoints Verjeana M. Jacobs, Esq. as Chief Equity and Member Services Officer

June 18, 2018

Alexandria, Va., June 18, 2018 -- The National School Boards Association (NSBA) announces it has named Verjeana M. Jacobs, Esquire, as Chief Equity and Member Services Officer to lead NSBA’s work to attain educational equity for public schoolchildren through local school board governance. She will report to Thomas J. Gentzel, NSBA’s Executive Director and CEO.

The Equity and Member Services group that Jacobs oversees provides services to NSBA’s federation of 49 state associations and the U.S. territory of the Virgin Islands, representing more than 90,000 school board officials across the United States. NSBA believes that community ownership is an essential and distinguishing characteristic of America’s public education system, underscoring the importance of the governance role of local school board members.

While continuing to provide meaningful programming, resources, and professional learning opportunities, NSBA will shine a spotlight on one of the most pressing issues in public education today—equity. NSBA has advocated for equity and excellence in public education since its founding more than seven decades ago. To advance this long-standing commitment, NSBA recently defined its vision of educational equity that affirms that each student can, will, and shall learn, regardless of factors including, but not limited to, disability, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Further, that all discriminatory practices and beliefs must be identified and eradicated. The full statement is located at https://www.nsba.org/about-us/equity

“NSBA’s equity work is embedded in our ongoing efforts to defend and advocate for public education,” said Gentzel. “Verjeana Jacobs will help champion NSBA’s vision of equity, and direct our equity programs and member service initiatives to ensure that school leaders are equipped to support and advocate for the unique needs of our country’s 50 million public school children.”

Jacobs holds responsibility for developing programming for NSBA’s Equity Symposium, held each year in Washington, D.C., and a new equity conference with its own unique program on the West Coast (scheduled for Sept. 26 in Las Vegas, Nevada). These events provide learning experiences across a broad canvas of equity issues to enable attendees to develop and advance sustainable policies and practices under which inclusion, diversity, and equity can thrive. Jacobs oversees programming for NSBA’s specialty councils, which includes the Council of Urban Board of Education, National American Indian/Alaska Native Council, National Black Council, and National Hispanic Council. She also manages National Connection, which offers national executive information and networking services for school board leaders and senior school district staff.

Jacobs brings an in-depth understanding of educational issues caused by segregation and inequities. She devoted 25 years to working in public service in Maryland’s second largest correctional facility, where she retired as the agency’s Chief Legal and Professional Responsibility Officer. Prior to joining NSBA, Jacobs served as Chair of the Board of Education in Prince George’s County (PGC), Maryland. One of the nation’s largest school districts, PGC public schools serve a student population that is 91 percent Black/African American and Hispanic, with 64 percent eligible for free or reduced-price school meals.

A school board member for 10 years, Jacobs held several leadership roles including President of the Maryland Association of Boards of Education and Chair of NSBA’s Council of Urban Boards of Education. She earned a bachelor's degree in behavioral and social sciences from the University of Maryland and a law degree from the University of the District of Columbia.

“Educational equity is not a concept; it requires action,” said Jacobs. “Amid fluctuating demographics, socioeconomic challenges and implications for cultural competence, boards of education must be vigilant in their role to ensure that every child has access and opportunity to be champions.”

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The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is the leading advocate for public education and supports equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership. NSBA believes education is a civil right necessary to the dignity and freedom of the American people, and all children should have equal access to an education that maximizes his or her individual potential. The association represents state school boards associations and their more than 90,000 local school board members throughout the U.S. www.nsba.org

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