Role of the BOE

IMG_3903     Mrs. Darby Arakelian

As someone who has served a year on the Board already after her May 2013 appointment, Mrs. Arakelian has experience in the position already, although she is still learning.

“I think we need to be visible so that people understand that they have a board that cares about the kids,” Mrs. Arakelian said. “I think they need to understand that there is an outlet to come back and provide feedback.”

While hearing the stakeholders out and providing solutions is an important job of the BOE, it is not the only objective.

“At the end of the day the board is really an oversight facilitator, and we are really to manage one individual and that is the superintendent,” Mrs. Arakelian said.

Because of this important supervisory role, part of the responsibility of maintaining a satisfied teaching force falls with the BOE.

“We have great teachers here, and you wouldn’t have the quality of students you have without the people behind them,” Mrs. Arakelian said.

But the culminating purpose of the BOE is bigger than supervision or communication with the constituents alone.

“We should be the ears and voice of our constituents who have placed us in this role so that there is a balance between the experts we’ve hired to educate our kids and the community’s priorities in how we allocate their tax dollars,” Mrs. Arakelian said.

IMG_1413     Mr. Matt Doell

The most important role of the BOE is to hire and oversee the superintendent, according to Mr. Doell.

“There’s nothing that even compares; that’s our job,” Mr. Doell said. “I feel an obligation to help that person get started for the good of the schools.”

Dr. Eric Knost, incoming Superintendent, was hired at a BOE meeting, March 27. Since his election to the BOE in 2011, Mr. Doell has served under Dr. Bruce Borchers, former Superintendent,  and interim Superintendent Terry Adams. Mr. Doell has actively participated in the most recent superintendent search along with the rest of the BOE members.

“It’s very important the new Superintendent hits the ground running and has a successful chance,” Mr. Doell said. “I think that an experienced board member can help with that.”

In addition to the selection of the superintendent, a responsibility of the BOE is to respond to any RSD citizen inquiries. Keeping visible and accessible is essential, according to Mr. Doell.

“I get emails and phone calls all the time,” Mr. Doell said. “I try to never tell anybody ‘no.’ If anybody calls and says, ‘I’d like to meet with you,’ even if that person is someone who has a negative voice, I still always try to meet with them. Most of the time, they just want to know what’s going on.”

IMG_3900     Dr. Keith Kinder

As a candidate running for re-election, Dr. Kinder plans to continue the mission of the district, which is to create a secure education.

“Our vision is to ensure that the students that we are entrusted with are in a safe environment and that they learn,” Dr. Kinder said. “Our mission is to make sure the students are offered the best education that we can help them get in the Rockwood School District.”

To be on the BOE, Dr. Kinder believes that a candidate must have the right attitude.

“I think you have to be a positive person and look on the positive side. We are the guardians of the Rockwood School District in a lot of ways with the policies, and we do the same thing for the middle schools, elementary schools, the T.A.G. program, Early Childhood Center and many more,” Dr. Kinder said. “Yes, things will come up that will even concern me, but you have to stay positive and promote the Rockwood School District.”

From his previous experience on the Board, Dr. Kinder believe his broad perspective of RSD is beneficial.

“You can’t come in as a board member and think every school runs just like EHS; you need to have a working knowledge of all the other schools. The more you know about the district the more it helps the board,” Dr. Kinder said. “Some people get on the board and they have this big change they want to make, and they don’t think about the ramifications down the road because that’s all they are interested in.”

IMG_1407     Mrs. Dominique’ Paul

The first priority of the BOE needs to be communicating a clear vision of the district from this point forward, according to Mrs. Paul.

“With the last bond issue, it wasn’t clear the direction [the district] was trying to go,” Mrs. Paul said. “[The public] didn’t know where the money was going. With Picture Rockwood, there was almost too much communication and not a clear direction. There were too many options.”

Direction in decision-making is a key component in gaining public trust for Mrs. Paul.

“Precise options for people need to be out there so people feel confident and clear in giving to and supporting the school district,” Mrs. Paul said. “Without communication, you don’t have anything.”

Mrs. Paul is ready to introduce various ways of spreading Rockwood news to the public.

“We could work with the municipalities and see if we could put a small section of ‘What’s going on in Rockwood’ [in newsletters,]” Mrs. Paul said. “Going to the monthly mayor meetings and the Chamber of Commerce makes sure we have that presence. I don’t know if that would work, but that is something that we should attempt.”

She believes visibility is key when trying to increase communication outside of the school district and in the individual cities.

“There are so many things that go on and are so family oriented out here in West County, like farmers markets, etc.,” Mrs. Paul said. “There is so much possible exposure within the community.”


IMG_3893     Mrs. Eileen Tyrrell

“The board is oversight: they hire a superintendent, and they supervise him,” Mrs. Tyrrell said. “That superintendent hires or directs the cabinet, so the board has to know the questions to ask and they have to ask the tough questions.”

Having been in attendance at the BOE meetings of the last three years, she feels she has an understanding of how the BOE works and her possible role on the board.

“There are not enough questions being asked,” Mrs. Tyrrell said. “We have to stand up and say to the community, with no buts, ‘We are sorry. We screwed up, and we are trying.’”

Trust and communication between the BOE and the community are a top priority for Mrs. Tyrrell and how she feels the district will be able to make progress into the future.

“You lie to your parents; your parents need that time to trust you again,” Mrs. Tyrrell said. “That’s all this community is asking.”

The district administration and BOE was not altogether forthcoming with the stakeholders over the findings in the 2013 audit and was unjustified in putting up a bond issue around the same time, according to Mrs. Tyrrell.

Her solution to as to how to move forward is simply stated:

“The Board of Education most effectively influences students by setting a good example,” Mrs. Tyrrell said.

Resolving district stakeholders’ confusion over fiscal and curricular issues is the basis for Mrs. Tyrrell’s platforms.