Board of Education Member Career Guide
Do you have ambitions of not only teaching students but also shaping entire classrooms, schools, and curricula? Becoming a board of education member (BOEM) might just be the career for you. You’ll have the chance to change not just one student’s life or the lives of a class full of students, but an entire school district, community, or state.
A BOEM is a member of a local or statewide school board. A typical board of education consists of several members working together and ensuring schools and students are excelling. Members of a board of education combine their expertise and years of experience to make curriculum decisions, assess student outcomes, oversee teacher hiring and training, and choose appropriate learning materials for their students.
The job of a BOEM involves a lot of curriculum planning, teacher training, and analyzing outcomes. As a member of a board, you’ll also need to work as a team to make decisions. The following are just some of the things that a typical board of education member might do:
- Plan the curriculum. A big part of your job will be to design, plan, and implement the curriculum in your school district or state. You’ll need to take into consideration your background knowledge in pedagogy and teaching practices to design a curriculum that suits your students’ needs.
- Assess curriculum implementation and student outcomes. Board of education members also need to be aware of how the local school curriculum is being implemented, and how students’ outcomes and test scores compare to expectations and national averages. After assessing those outcomes, of course, you and the other board members can make adjustments to improve curriculum implementation and teaching practices.
- Review textbooks and other learning materials. There are hundreds upon hundreds of textbooks out there to choose from, and part of your job will be to review the options and select the best possible textbooks and learning materials for your students.
- Oversee hiring, training, and development projects. Good teachers are a must if you want students to excel. You’ll be involved in hiring, including the interview process, or you may just be involved in projects that help your teachers receive training and development programs so that they can reach their full potential.
You’ll want to get started with a solid background in education, including one or more degrees that specialize in education. Next, you should have some professional experience as an educator and as an education administrator. The later steps will depend more and more on where you live, due to the huge amount of variation around in terms of how board of education members are selected.
Step One: Bachelor’s Degree
A degree in education will be a great first step. You can focus on elementary education or secondary education, and within secondary education, you’ll have a variety of different specializations to choose from, depending on your interests. A good bachelor’s degree program in education will give you knowledge of current education theories and practices and will prepare you to meet the challenges of the modern classroom head-on.
Step Two: Get Certified to Teach In-State
Every state handles things differently, but the basics are the same. You’ll need to: (1) earn a bachelor’s degree; (2) complete a student-teaching program; (3) pass the Praxis exam in your subject matter; and (4) pass a criminal and professional background check.
Step Three: Master’s Degree
A great next step would be getting your master’s, particularly one that focuses specifically on curriculum and instruction. After all, your end goal isn’t just to become a teacher; it’s to become a board of education member, which involves more educational oversight and curriculum planning. A master’s degree in that field will give you the knowledge you need to plan and develop a curriculum. This should include topics like curriculum theory and design, educational psychology, and research.
Step Four: Work Experience
You’ll want two kinds of experience: teaching and administrative. It’s best to start with teaching experience before you think about becoming an education administrator, since the upper ranks of education typically require years of experience anyway.
Step Five: Get Appointed or Elected
This is the part of the process that most heavily depends on where you are. Some school board and board of education members are appointed or hired; others are elected. If you’ve got your eye on a particular post, do some research to figure out the particular steps you need to take in that state.
Curriculum and Instruction – M.S.
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You need to be well-organized and have great leadership skills. After all, you’ll be making important decisions that affect the education of America’s youth. You’ll also want to be well-versed in good teaching practices, preferably after years of your own experience in education. You will also need:
- Extensive knowledge of pedagogical methods and teaching practices
- Leadership and decision-making skills
- Organizational skills
- Critical and analytical thinking skills
- Communication skills
- Social and interpersonal skills
How Much Does a Board of Education Member Make?
Salaries for board of education members vary widely from school district to school district and state to state. In many cases, board of education members receive no pay; in other cases, such as board of education members for the Los Angeles Board of Education, members are eligible to receive up to $125,000 in annual salary. In many cases, people become board of education members for the opportunity to shape education policy, not just to earn a paycheck.
What Is the Projected Job Growth?
While there’s no specific information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on board of education members, there is good news in general: the field of instructional coordinators is projected to grow at a rate of 10% between the years 2020 and 2030, which is higher than the overall projected rate of job growth in the United States in the coming decade.
Where Do Board of Education Members Work?
Board of education members work on local and state school boards all over the United States. This means you can find board of education members everywhere. Because of the very nature of the job, you’re almost certainly going to be working for a public school system, but it may be possible for you to find similar work in curriculum planning in design for a private education institute.