Norris recognized for school board course work

She recently earned the silver award from the OSBAs Leadership Institute


For Patti Norris, serving as chair of the Crook County School Board was not enough.

She decided to go above and beyond expectations and complete coursework that would further hone her skills.

That effort recently earned her the silver award from the Oregon School Board Association's (OSBA) Leadership Institute.

“It’s very nice,” Norris said of the recognition.

The Leadership Institute offers coursework to help enrich school board members’ knowledge of public education and enhance their skills as a leader in their community. Those who enroll in the voluntary workshops complete a variety of course titles after which they receive recognition in the form of different level awards. The silver award is the second in five levels that range from “bronze” to “master board.”

“School board members already put in hundreds of hours every year on behalf of Oregon’s children,” said Betsy Miller-Jones, OSBA’s executive director. “This is an extra measure of their dedication.”

Although Norris was aware that completion of the course work came with special recognition, she did not enroll to earn any accolades.

“I took the courses because I was interested in the content and wanted to be a better school board member.”

Some of the courses include data-driven decision making, ethics, public meetings and records, and school finance and budgeting as well as educational equity, legislative advocacy, and school law basics.

Fellow board member Scott Cooper, who has served with Norris for the past four years, considers her a dedicated individual who puts a lot of time into understanding educational issues.

“She puts more time in than any of the other board members in terms of working with the superintendent, trying to keep the policy rails running and keep the train on the tracks,” he said.

Cooper added that Norris, like all of the board members, brings a unique perspective to the group that helps them see issues from a variety of sides and make well-thought-out decisions.

As board chair, Norris frequently works with Superintendent Duane Yecha on educational interests. Her work has pleased him during his tenure with the school district.

“She brought back goal-setting with the school board — at least made it bigger and better — and long-range planning,” Yecha said. “Patti is a strong leader. I appreciate her attention to detail.”

Norris said she enjoys her school board service for a variety of reasons, the greatest of which is the ability to help make a difference in the lives of local children.

“It’s also so varied and interesting, and complex intellectually that I find it to be intellectually stimulating,” she added. “I get to interact with a lot of really smart people — people who care about our kids and making a difference in our community and kids’ lives. What could be better than that?”




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