Crain earns state-wide honor for board of education
Published 11:02 am Wednesday, December 16, 2015
When it comes to his duties as a member of the Carter County Board of Education, Kelly Crain believes in going the extra mile.
It is that dedication that recently garnered Crain state-wide recognition as he earned the status of Level 5 Master Board Member through the Tennessee School Board Association. Crain is the first school board member from Carter County to gain the distinction.
“When you start out as a school board member, you are basically a rookie,” Crain said.
There are certain classes, workshops and training sessions that board members must attend throughout their tenure on a variety of topics from student testing to education laws.
“Once you attend so many, you make it to Level 1,” Crain said. “You accumulate points with all the extra things you do.”
As board members earns points, they earn higher levels in the accreditation program.
“The last level you attain is Level 5, a ‘Master Board Member,’” Crain said. “That is a tough one.”
In addition to the training and workshops the board members must attend to stay abreast of the current happenings in the field of education, anyone hoping to achieve Master Board Member status must show a dedication beyond what is simply required.
“You can’t just go to your regular meetings and be a Level 5, you have to do extra things,” Crain said.
Under the guidelines of the TSBA program, those hoping to achieve Master Board Member status have to submit a portfolio demonstrating their improvements to education and their school system. Prospects must show their work in helping to improve their school system policies and procedures as well as demonstrate how they advocate for their system, its teachers and its students. They must also show how they work to pass along their knowledge to others by serving as a mentor to a new school board member, helping to mentor other school boards, serving as a TSBA ambassador or making presentations at TSBA or National School Board Association functions.
Earning the Master Board Member distinction requires a lot of additional work as well as a large commitment of additional time, but Crain said it is worth all the extra effort.
“The thing I wanted to do when I first came on the Board was to see Carter County move to the top of the ladder,” he said, adding he would like to see other school districts look to Carter County as an example of a model school system. “The main reason we’re here is for the children. We have one chance to provide these children with the opportunity to get a quality education and if we fail them, then we’ve failed as a school board and as a school system.”
Crain took his seat on the Carter County Board of Education in September 2008 and since that time, he has been working to build the skills necessary to help students, teachers and administrators reach their full potential.
“You’re going to make mistakes, but you do the best you can,” he said. “Everything is for the children, they have to be number one.”
Now in his second term, Crain has made a major accomplishment in a short period of time.
“That’s what they told me in Nashville,” Crain said of when he was awarded Level 5 status. “They said ‘My goodness, you’ve accomplished this level in a really short amount of time.’”
When Crain found out he had been selected as a Master Board Member, he asked the TSBA who else in Carter County had achieved the honor.
“I wanted to know whose company I was in,” he said.
After searching their records, the TSBA told Crain he was the first ever board member from Carter County to capture the accolade.
“That was a shock to me,” he said.
There have been many long-serving board members who accomplished a lot for the school system, but they did not take part in the Master Board Member program, Crain said.
Despite the long hours and the extra commitment, Crain said he would encourage all of his fellow board members to take part in the program.
“I would highly recommend each and every board member go through the program,” he said. “It will only make them a better board member.”
“I would love to see each and every one of our board members become a Level 5,” he added. “They owe it to themselves and they owe it to the children.”