MARYSVILLE — The Marysville School District Board of Directors was named the Board of the Year by the Washington State School Directors Association this fall.
The MSD Board was recognized at the Nov. 17 WSSDA annual conference for school districts of 9,000 students or more, after the WSSDA named the MSD Board a Board of Distinction last year.
The application process is based on the Washington Effective School Board Standards, which ask boards to:
n Show how their actions align with effective board governance practices.
n Document their focus on educational excellence and equity for all students.
n Identify how they create conditions for student and staff success.
n Share their commitment to continuous improvement and accountability.
MSD Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland and Board President Chris Nation agreed that this designation honors not only the Board itself — which also includes Vice President Wendy Fryberg and directors Dr. Tom Albright, Cindy Erickson and Pete Lundberg — but also the district as a whole, including its parents and community.
“As a Board, we sit down and ask ourselves how our decisions will affect student achievement and success down the line,” Nation said. “We maintain that focus as we discuss the issues. Everyone gets heard from and we make sure to reach consensus.”
Nation credited the schools’ faculty and staff with being every bit as invested as the Board in seeing all students graduate on time, which he touted as yielding increased student engagement in the classroom.
“Other people might not see that yet, but we see it every day,” Nation said. “Everyone’s dedication is humbling to us. This truly is a team effort. The schools can’t do it alone. Our community has supported us as well, whether through volunteer time, financial donations or just getting their kids to class. Everyone’s taking responsibility here.”
While the Board of the Year distinction seeks to honor school boards that demonstrate understanding of their leadership roles and follow through on their responsibilities, Nation also praised Nyland for his own leadership.
“We have a great rapport with Dr. Nyland,” Nation said. “It’s not about dictating. We communicate with each other. A lot of our success owes to that tone.”
Nyland agreed with Nation that the Board of the Year distinction is a sign that the MSD Board has “turned a corner” compared to where it was when he was first selected as the district’s superintendent in 2004.
“This represents a lot of hard work by everyone from the teachers and the administrators to the secretaries and the bus drivers,” Nyland said. “This Board has always asked for more data and asked, ‘What more can we do?’ To be more connected to the community, they’ve made sure that at least one or two Board members have attended each school district event. They’ve served omelettes to students at Liberty Elementary, and last year, the Board attended all of the school district’s fifth-grade graduations, just to let those students know how proud we are of them.”
“Are we where we need to be? No, but we’re continuing to work hard to get there,” Nation said. “Marysville schools have a new story to tell. People have a tendency to live in the past, but we’re not who we used to be and we’re continuing to get better. The more we talk to people to get them involved and seeing what’s happening, the more they want to be part of it.”
For more information about this award, log onto www.msvl.k12.wa.us/board-of-directors.