by Madison White Franks
IRVINGTON—“I thank you for your leadership and for your engagement and for your willingness to care and dream and embrace the lives of the young men and women that grace the communities that you serve,” said Christopher Newport University president Paul Trible.
He was addressing the Virginia School Board Association Eastern Region Spring Network forum, hosted by Lancaster County Public Schools March 1 at the Tides Inn.
The forum gave school board members and superintendents an opportunity to meet with their colleagues from across the region for an evening of fellowship, discussion and food.
The event began with a student art show, judged by members of the Rappahannock Art League, and music by the Lancaster Middle School chorus, directed by Emily Mahoney.
School boards serving Lancaster, Northumberland, Westmoreland, Richmond County, Mathews, Middlesex, Gloucester, Colonial Beach, King William, King George, Essex and West Point were represented.
Lancaster school board chairman Bob Westbrook thanked Gordon Slatford and the Tides Inn for opening early to host the forum.
Lancaster superintendent Steve Parker introduced Trible as a visionary leader, a can-do inspirer and being as congenial as an old country doctor.
Trible said anyone in a position of education should be very clear about vision and values, to allow the opportunity for students to understand what the purpose of their education is going to allow them to have.
“In organizational leadership, if you can eliminate the negatives in the organization, sometimes you can merge forward. But it’s in those amazing moments when you can align people’s hearts and minds that you can soar,” said Trible.
“Leadership demands great dreams, just like our lives demand great dreams. We spend our time at Christopher Newport imparting to our students how important it is that they have great dreams for their lives. A vision so important that it will instruct and inspire their lives each day and give the powerful purpose to get up in the morning and sprint through the day,” he continued.
Trible implied that people do not like change, they resist it, but as members of the public education field, school boards should lead with courage and creativity.
“Our job is to lead and if you can’t lead with courage and creativity then find something else to do,” said Trible. “The great tragedy in America today is that we ask so little of ourselves and our fellow citizens. My experience is that if you ask people to do their best, they will astound you with their success.”