Encinitas Union SD receives CSBA's inaugural Governance Team of the Year Award – San Diego County Office of Education

Encinitas Union School District has received CSBA’s inaugural Governance Team of the Year Award, given to the board of a school district or county office of education that demonstrates exceptional governance culture and practices.
“So many school boards have demonstrated resourcefulness, resolve and commitment to student learning and well-being this year that it was difficult to identify just a single winner,” said 2022 CSBA President Dr. Susan Heredia. “But from among this remarkable group of candidates, the Encinitas Union School District board distinguished itself with a relentless focus on the whole child, equity and aligning governance team practice to facilitate the vision and goals adopted by the district and its community.”
To honor these achievements, Encinitas Union SD has been inducted into the Golden Gavel Hall of Fame. The San Diego County district represents CSBA Region 17 and was selected for recognition from among 1,000 local educational agencies in California.
Effective governing boards are required to ensure that an LEA is operating optimally, promoting student success both academically and personally, and building community. Governance teams were judged on their ability to focus on learning and achievement for all students, communicate a common vision, govern effectively, apply an equity lens to guide decision making, and commit to ongoing training to become an optimally informed and effective team.
“On behalf of the Encinitas Union School District, our board is honored to receive the Golden Gavel [for] the Governance Team of the Year Award,” Board President Marla Strich said while accepting the award during CSBA’s Annual Education Conference and Trade Show in San Diego on Dec. 2. “As a board, and collectively as members of CSBA, we have the obligation and responsibility to ensure we continue to cultivate schools where all children can be seen, heard and loved in ways that connect them meaningfully to learning. It is our most essential work to keep our students and families at the center of our decision making.”
The Encinitas Union board acknowledges that leadership sets the tone for the entire district and therefore centers its work on ensuring all decisions made are in the best interest of students. It exhibits a districtwide emphasis on supporting the whole child and on equity, a principle that aligns with the Local Control and Accountability Plan its parents, students, staff and community members helped to craft.
Members of Encinitas Union SD’s governance team have participated in CSBA’s Coast2Coast Federal Advocacy Trip, Legislative Action Day, Annual Education Conference and Trade Show and Masters in Governance® trainings, among other activities and learning opportunities. The board exemplifies CSBA’s Governance Standards and reviews and approves a Governance Handbook as well as Board Policy updates yearly to keep standards and guiding principles top of mind. Practices like these allow the board to keep order and effectively conduct its business while also hearing from the community, even when discussing challenging topics.
Additionally, board members complete annual self-evaluations. In 2021–22, board members supported professional development opportunities for district employees and participated in workshops and webinars, including a Board Equity Workshop where they explored their individual identities and the collective story of the governance team.
To be eligible for the award, governance teams needed to consist of leaders of a school district or county office of education (including elected or appointed school board members and the superintendent) and have a current membership with CSBA.
Applications were evaluated based on information provided in entry forms judged by the Statewide Award Panel that chose the Governance Team of the Year. Site validators visited the top governance team to view a board meeting and verify that the information submitted in the application was consistent with what was being practiced.
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Encinitas Union School District has received CSBA’s inaugural Governance Team of the Year Award, given to the board of a school district or county office of education that demonstrates exceptional governance culture and practices.
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