Leadership TASB 2020 Kicks Off Year of Training
by Nichole Bentley
As the 2019 TASA|TASB Convention
commenced at the Kay Bailey Hutchison
Convention Center in Dallas, 36 strangers
gathered on September 19, 2019, to discover
how the year’s Leadership TASB theme
of “Building a New Team” would apply to
serving on their local school boards.
Our cohort consists of 36 members
from across the state. Our districts and
our experiences are as varied as this vast
state, yet our commitment to strong
public education for the students of Texas
is the same.
Like classes before us, we benefited
from meeting past Leadership TASB graduates and learning about their experiences
by visiting with them at our graduate
panel and the Leadership TASB reunion
and celebration. The context and application of what we are embarking upon,
along with the ongoing high value former
class members place upon their experience, were informative and encouraging.
During our initial session, we began
work on our yearlong group project.
This year’s teams are each tackling a
leadership publication; our outcomes
will include a scholarly review, including
the concepts in each team’s book that
we either support or refute based upon
other leadership literature and how the
book’s concepts can be applied to leadership through a school board trustee lens.
Groups will be selected to present at the
Summer Leadership Institute (SLI) in San
Antonio to share our work.
‘Art of Small Talk’
The 2020 class had the distinct honor
of being the benefactors of the final Lead-
ership TASB presentation by esteemed
leadership expert Pete DeLisle. DeLisle
discussed the leadership model that
focuses on each of our leadership charac-
teristics and how those intersect along the
Being able to identify ourselves and
others along the continuum and to see
how ability, awareness, and commitment
are manifest make each of us better leaders and teammates in our class, on our
school boards, and in our lives.
Author Debra Fine’s session about
the “fine art of small talk” helped us learn
about and practice reframing a conversation, how to exit a difficult conversation
gracefully, and ways that we can put those
with whom we’re conversing at ease.
We were equipped with several easy
conversation starters to pick up where we
left off in a previous social setting and to
allow anyone in the room to engage with
us with more than a “dead-end conversation about the weather.”
‘We over Me’
Our class was joined by many Lead-
ership TASB alumni for a field trip to Paul
Quinn College in Dallas. College Presi-
dent Michael Sorrell shared the rich and
challenging history of the college and the
campus culture of “we over me” that has
not only kept the doors open but allowed
the college to emerge as a force for change
in higher education.
Paul Quinn College is creatively
and strategically recruiting students and
holding them accountable to “leave places
better than they found them, lead from
wherever you are, live a life that matters,
and love something greater than yourself.”
Our time on the campus was inspiring.
The remainder of our cohort’s time
together this year will allow us to learn
from and explore school districts in and
around the cities of Houston, Austin, and
El Paso before we wrap up in June 2020
at SLI. While we began our year together as strangers, there is little doubt that
our experiences, shared learning, and
connections will bring about friendships
and invaluable networks as we serve the
students of Texas.H
Nichole Bentley, Coppell ISD Board secretary,
is a member of the Leadership TASB Class.
Pete DeLisle, chair of Leadership Studies at Austin College, engages the Leadership TASB
Class of 2020 at the group’s initial session September 19, 2019, in Dallas.