On June 10, the ballot to elect new members to the NAGC Board of Directors, officers, and Network chairs-elect, will be available to NAGC Individual and Lifetime members. I hope everyone will take the time to vote.  This is your opportunity to shape the leadership and direction of the organization.

Qualities for Service:  A Broad Range of Expertise

Soon entering my 8th and last year on the board, I have learned a great deal about the responsibilities of board members and officers of NAGC. It takes a significant amount of time and a great deal of motivation and commitment to fulfill the many obligations associated with active board participation, including sacrificing other professional activities to do so.  Board members need both expertise in gifted education and experience working within and for an organization. The ability to work as a team with the national office and others, to formulate policy and positions, understand complex budgets, make difficult decisions about the allocation of precious and limited resources, appreciate and consider the perspectives of all stakeholders, and participate in crafting a collective vision for NAGC, are all critical components of the role of NAGC board members and officers.

No one comes to the board or officer position completely prepared for all aspects of their job, but a willingness to learn and a focus on listening (rather than always talking) are keys to success.  We are fortunate to have members willing to take on these roles. This year, in fact, we had a record number of individuals submit applications for board positions, resulting in the careful selection of a robust slate by the NAGC Elections Committee.

Foundation for Leadership:  Laying the Groundwork

I have observed that many individuals who successfully run for the board begin their preparation with significant levels of participation in Networks, SIGs, committees and task forces.  Leadership positions within these NAGC communities provide a path and training ground for prospective board members, helping to orient them to the governance structure of NAGC as well as providing exposure to the most significant roles of the organization-- advocacy at the federal and state level, educating the broader educational community about gifted children and gifted education, and training and professional development for gifted education specialists.

When I assumed the presidency of NAGC, I asked for advice from former presidents and I received many helpful suggestions. One of the best pieces of advice, the one that stuck with me during my term as president and even now as past president, came from Del Siegle. He told me to view my role as facilitating the board’s deliberation on critical issues and “to trust that the board would come to a good decision.” “Trust in the board,” Del would say repeatedly. He was right. There were frequently extensive, thoughtful discussions on difficult issues, but in the end, the board always came together to support an agreed-upon direction or decision. The beauty of the NAGC board is that it is designed to have members who represent the various constituencies of the organization--parents, educators, researchers--thereby deliberately bringing multiple viewpoints to bear on any action or decision.  

Personally, I have very much enjoyed my work as an officer and board member for NAGC. It has made me grow in ways I never imagined and forced me to gain new skills as I “worked at the edges of my competencies” to meet challenges and fulfill my responsibilities. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to meet and work with so many wonderful new people. These experiences have only deepened my commitment to NAGC and the field of gifted education.

So, please look for the ballot soon and vote and consider stepping onto or continuing further on that path to leadership at NAGC.