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COSSBA Connection - May 2024

Updated: Apr 30

Newsletter Contents


 

COSSBA Welcomes Newest Team Member, Alex Agee II, MBA, as Director of Corporate Sponsorships


Alexander Agee II, President of “Agee & Associates Sales & Consulting Group,” brings to the Consortium of School Board Associations (COSSBA) over two decades of professional expertise in Leadership, Sales, Business Development, and National Account Management, with a primary focus on the Hospitality/Food Industry, K-12 and Higher Education sectors, Group Procurement Organizations, and City Government. Throughout his career, Alexander has exhibited a profound dedication to cultivating new business opportunities and delivering innovative solutions, particularly in areas such as school food services, facility management, and energy efficiency. 


With a specialization in serving large urban K-12 school districts and charter organizations, Alexander has consistently achieved revenue and profit objectives while spearheading initiatives aimed at enhancing the educational experience for student enrollments of 30,000 or more through auxiliary services. His strategic prowess extends to managing sales teams across the expansive territory of the 13 western states, where he meticulously crafts annual sales plans, monitors key performance indicators, and adeptly navigates the competitive bid process. 


In his previous role as Regional Vice President of Partnerships at an energy solutions company, Alexander played a pivotal role in revolutionizing school districts' energy management practices. Through his efforts, legacy, energy-inefficient facilities were transformed into cost-effective, state-of-the-art educational environments, positively impacting communities, and enriching the educational journey of countless students. 

Motivated by his passion for fostering meaningful connections and driving impactful collaborations, Alexander recently assumed the position of Director of Corporate Sponsorships at COSSBA. In this capacity, he is dedicated to nurturing strong relationships with existing sponsors while actively seeking out new partnerships that align with COSSBA's core values and strategic objectives. His vision is to explore innovative strategies that deliver a return on investment to sponsors and effectively communicate the unique benefits of partnering with COSSBA, thereby creating mutual value for all stakeholders involved. 


Alexander's academic credentials include an MBA from Pepperdine University, where he honed his leadership and management skills to complement his extensive industry experience. Beyond his professional endeavors, Alexander has also been deeply engaged in community and industry leadership roles, having served as the President of the National Black MBA Association – Los Angeles Chapter and making history as the first African American to serve on the Nails Manufacturers Council. 


Through his multifaceted career journey, Alexander Agee II continues to exemplify a steadfast commitment to excellence, innovation, and impactful leadership, leaving an indelible mark on the industries he serves and the communities he supports. 


 

UBA Spotlight: Innovations and Insights


Uniting Education: The Consortium of State School Boards Association's UBA Highlights Innovations and Insights  


COSSBA’s Urban Boards Alliance (UBA) Supports and Equips School Boards with the requisite knowledge, skills, training, and experiences to address and improve the educational outcomes of students in challenging environments. This alliance represents state board members and executives from urban, suburban. and rural school districts emphasizing unity, collaboration, and shared insights to address the challenges facing public education.  

  

COSSBA will collaborate with its member state associations and the Alliance’s Program Advisors to provide a national program of training, resources, and networking to its state association member school boards to create and share educational strategies that address and improve the educational outcomes of students within challenging environments. The recognition that these environments impact students in and out of the classroom is critical to their success in our schools  

  

One of the key innovations introduced by the UBA is the introduction of tailored webinars and convenings aimed at equipping association members with the newest insights, strategies, and resources necessary for making informed decisions and driving positive change across all educational settings. This collaborative and tailored approach has led to education transformation and increased student achievement.  

  

Furthermore, the UBA provides comprehensive online sharing of resources, research, and innovative solutions. This resource hub located on the COSSBA.org website gives district leaders access to a wealth of information and an opportunity to collaborate on initiatives aimed at improving educational outcomes. From policy recommendations to practical tools for increasing student achievement, the website provides a valuable resource for those seeking to enhance their effectiveness and impact.  

  

In addition to fostering collaboration among members, the UBA is dedicated to advocating for policies that remove the barriers to improving academic outcomes for all students. By leveraging the collective voice of its members, the UBA amplifies advocacy efforts at the national level, championing initiatives that prioritize the needs of all students and communities.  

  

COSSBA’s UBA is empowering leaders to address the complex challenges facing education and build a brighter future for all students. As the Alliance continues to grow and evolve, its impact on education will continue to strengthen, making a lasting difference in schools and communities across the nation. 


 

State Association Spotlight: Success Stories from Across the States


Virginia’s Bullying Awareness Campaign Shows Impact Beyond Schools 


To promote awareness of school bullying, the VSBA Board of Directors designated each October as Bullying Prevention Month. Since its inception, the campaign has now evolved with school boards joining their communities and other governmental entities to positively impact students. “We’re proud of our many districts who participate in the campaign – several of which have embraced the campaign and extended their influence beyond the schools into the community and even county-wide,” said Gina Patterson, Executive Director. “Our districts are the true stars of this program, exemplifying the best work in the country.” 


Each year, VSBA provides Bullying Prevention campaign materials including a sample proclamation, policy guidance, and media for boards to conduct their work locally. The Association encourages districts to write a letter to the editor, contact news outlets, and promote their own stories about bullying prevention. Schools also hold their own contests with posters, videos, essays, etc. around the theme of “VSBA Bullying Prevention Month.” Some communities have taken the effort a step further by conducting parent or caregiver workshops on bullying allowing the work to impact the entire community. At VSBA, training for school board members includes webinars and podcasts - all part of the effort to show the impact of bullying on student learning. 


Childhood bullying is a significant problem nationwide. It can cause school absenteeism, mental and physical stress, poor school performance, low self-esteem, and in some cases, school violence. Statistics show students who experience bullying are at an increased risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, lower academic achievement, and dropping out of school (Centers for Disease Control, 2021). 


For more information on VSBA’s Bullying Prevention Campaign contact Executive Director, Gina Patterson at gina@vsba.org


 




Federal Advocacy Updates: Meet the DC Based BOSE Team 


Bose Public Affairs Group is the advocacy partner navigating the many pathways of the legislative environment for COSSBA.  Our veteran team supporting COSSBA organizes our Federal Advocacy Conference held in Washington D.C. and provides our Weekly Federal education Reports and bi-weekly Federal Court Reports as well as in-the-moment memos on significant Congressional and policy events. This dynamic team is working to introduce COSSBA to congressional staff sharing COSSBA’s purpose, mission, and policy goals established by the Board of Directors and voted on by the general membership. The Bose team has been working to introduce and represent COSSBA in several high-profile national education coalitions that work on pertinent policy objectives.  


The BOSE team monitors and tracks other legislation, regulatory actions, and issues that could potentially impact COSSBA members. They meet bi-weekly with COSSBA leadership to discuss and determine what if any type of action is needed on those issues.  


They also meet regularly with the Government Advisory Advocacy Committee (GAAC) or COSSBA Board to provide updates on relevant issues in Washington as well as to determine potential action steps and items.  


The BOSE Public Affairs offices are in the heart of Washington, DC, and will provide our COSSBA member associations a Washington, DC space for a workspace, conference room space as well as a rooftop reception area for a small group.  


Meet the BOSE team:  


Della Cronin is a principal in the firm and brings over 20 years of experience in education and research policy, legislative and regulatory processes, fundraising and public affairs to our team. Della has managed corporate and national partnerships, communications for a corporate foundation, as well as outreach and public awareness efforts, and worked with the Department of Education to inform college campus officials about policy changes resulting from reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. She also is a frequent speaker on the topics of federal education and research policy, as well as the ins and outs of policymaking in Washington, D.C. 


Bob Moran is a principal and member of the federal relations team in the Washington, D.C. office. Prior to joining Bose Public Affairs Group, Moran worked as the education policy director for the U.S. Senate Committee for Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. In that role, he developed and oversaw the implementation of Chairman Lamar Alexander’s education policy agenda, coordinated policy goals with committee members on the Chairman’s behalf and served as lead negotiator on legislation and policy objectives. 


Jared Solomon is a senior policy advisor at Bose Public Affairs Group in Washington, D.C. Jared’s expertise includes education policy, student loans and related issues. 

Prior to joining the firm, he worked as a legislative assistant in the office of U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey, where he acted as the senator’s principal advisor on education, immigration policy and workforce development issues. He also worked on disability policy and issues relating to Medicaid. Jared previously worked as the vice president of budget policy for First Focus, a national children’s advocacy organization dedicated to making children and families a priority in federal policy. Jared began his career as an educator, teaching social studies at Northwestern High School in Baltimore, Maryland, and working as a project coordinator for the chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools. Jared also brings extensive campaign experience and is active in Maryland politics. 

 

COSSBA Central: Association News and Updates  

  

Message From the Executive Director 


Since its incorporation in April 2022 COSSBA has quickly become—by every metric—the largest association representing state school board associations.  


COSSBA serves 25 state school board associations. Member state associations serve nearly 6,700 school boards comprised of over 42,000 school board members. COSSBA member states serve nearly 24 million students.  That’s quite an impact!  


We remain committed to our core values, and they are embedded in all that we do. We recognize that if we fulfill our mission in serving, supporting, and promoting our state associations it helps produce excellence in local school governance which ultimately produces better outcomes for the students and families served by our nation’s schools.    

In August the Board of Directors adopted the Association’s first Strategic Plan. This roadmap to the future inspires and guides our work on behalf of our member state associations.  

Several strategic initiatives are well underway including the launch of a state legislative tracking platform, the development and distribution of regular federal, judicial, and state legislative updates to members, and a mentoring program for new Executive Directors.  COSSBA is also developing a shared repository of data and important resources for access by the state associations along with best practices in non-profit governance. COSSBA’s UBA Program continues to offer high quality online and in-person learning opportunities.  


It is an exciting time for COSSBA. I am looking forward to the work ahead and am grateful for the support of the membership.  


 

Collective Wisdom: Sharing Our Resources


Crisis Management – Your Organization’s Reputation is Its Largest Uninsured Asset 

By Bruce Hennes, Hennes Communications 

 

Sexual misconduct, data theft, unfair labor practices, OSHA complaints, mergers & acquisitions, active shooters, layoffs, accusations, food tampering, employee fraud and product defects are just a few of the situations today’s CEOs face. 

 

It’s been said that an organization’s reputation is its largest uninsured asset – an asset that can be seriously damaged with an ineffective crisis response. 

 

Traditional media leap on stories like those listed above.  And with the presence today of social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, not to mention a 24/7 media environment, the reputation you’ve built up with years of good work can be shattered in an instant. 

 

Today, your brand can face a significant reputational challenge in the time it takes to bang out a feverish 140-character tweet. When it comes to social media, in particular, company leaders no longer have the luxury of gathering around a table to discuss strategy. There’s simply no time. 

 

 

Upcoming Events


  • June 20-22, 2024, COSSBA Leadership Summit (by invitation only), Missoula, Montana 

  • June 20, 2024, COSSBA Board of Directors’ Meeting, Missoula, Montana 

  • August 21, 2024, at Noon EDT, UBA Webinar, Social Economics and Its Impact on Students Academically 

  • September 8-10, 2024, Federal Advocacy Conference 2024, Washington D.C.  

  • September 8, 2024, COSSBA Board of Directors’ Meeting, Washington D.C.  

  • October 16, 2024, at Noon EDT, UBA Webinar, Meeting the Academic Needs of Your Homeless Students 

  • January 16-18, 2025, 2025 Leadership Summit 

  • March 19, 2025, COSSBA Board of Directors’ Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia 

  • March 20-23, 2025, 2025 COSSBA National Conference, Hilton Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia 

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