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Trustees Encouraged To Apply for Leadership TASB

For Nicole Nolen, a trustee serving her first term at Gregory-Portland ISD, participating in the Leadership TASB Class of 2024 has changed how she approaches her board service, but the program’s importance doesn’t stop there. 

“I cannot think of a single aspect of my life that it has not had an impact on,” Nolen said. 

As the LTASB application period opens May 1 for the upcoming LTASB Class of 2025, Nolen said she encourages any interested trustee to apply, regardless of the length of their service. The deadline to apply is July 1. 

 “In some way, shape, or form we are all leaders,” Nolen said. “I don’t want anyone to be intimidated by the fact that it’s called Leadership TASB.” 

At first, Nolen was unsure whether she should apply to the program, which is designed to support experienced trustees, providing them with an in-depth exploration of leadership skills through immersive experiences. But she saw first-hand how beneficial the program was for other trustees on her board, and decided she wanted to gain access to resources and build a network of support that would help her navigate her board service. 

She said she realized LTASB would be the best opportunity to create that network of support outside of her own district. 

Connecting with education leaders from across the state and creating long-standing relationships is a cornerstone of the LTASB program experience. 

When Shelli Conway, LTASB alumni board president and the board president at Anna ISD, participated in the Class of 2020, her cohort encountered a number of challenges, including COVID-19.  

“It made us closer,” Conway said. “Everyone says they have the best class, but we probably have some of the closest friends and confidantes.”  

LTASB brings trustees together from districts of all sizes across the state who commit to the traditionally yearlong program.  

The program consists of five sessions, each lasting two to three days and typically being held Thursday, Friday, and a half-day on Saturday. Applications are processed and reviewed by a selection committee in July, when it selects a maximum of 36 class members. 

Conway, who represents a fast-growing district in North Texas, realized that no matter the size of the district — her cohort included trustees from small districts and large districts like Houston ISD — the trustees each brought something to the table. 

“We found that we all had something in common,” she said. “We all had issues, good and bad, and we could all help each other. ... We all had things to share.” 

As her district navigated growth, Conway said LTASB gave her a lens to see how other districts had approached similar challenges.  
“When my district went through the hard stuff, it gave me people to lean on, to ask ‘What did you all do? How did you all handle it?’” she said. 

In addition to gaining a network of support, LTASB participants also meet with education leaders and government officials, participate in a research project, and take field trips to see education innovation in action, said Robert Long III, LTASB program manager and division director for Board Development Services. 

“The LTASB experience is meant to challenge board members, because what they’re experiencing and learning directly impacts the future of their districts, and more importantly, it affects student achievement outcomes,” Long said. “We know the work will not be easy, but the effort will be well worth it when they graduate as Master Trustees, ready to serve their districts at an even higher level.” 

Conway said that any trustee who is thinking of applying should “Do it. You will never ever regret it.”  

As a trustee who has been serving on the Anna ISD board for 18 years, Conway said she waited to apply to LTASB, but she wishes she’d done it 10 years sooner.  

“LTASB is not easy, it’s hard work, but it’s worth every second,” she said. “I wouldn’t change it for the world.” 

Learn More About LTASB and Apply

Applications are open May 1 to July 1 at 11:59 p.m. 

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Mary Ann Lopez
Senior Communications Specialist

Mary Ann Lopez is a senior communications specialist for TASB.

Board Development Services

TASB Board Development Services enhances the effectiveness of district governance teams through training, consulting services, and information resources.