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Barb Clementi claps her hands as she speaks to the CASB ConventionA career educator and longtime member of the Pueblo School District 60 Board of Education is the incoming president of the Colorado Association of School Boards Executive Committee.

Barb Celenti, in her eighth and final year on the D60 Board of Educaiton, will take over the CASB Executive Committee presidential reins from Dr. Richard Martyr of the St. Vrain Valley RE-J.

“This is not about me, it’s about us, about CASB: and what we do to support local boards and through them, every kid in Colorado,” Ms. Clementi told attendees at the 82nd CASB Convention at the Broadmoor. “And it’s about how we make sure that CASB has and uses a powerful voice as a public education leader in the state.”

Ms. Clementi characterized 2023 as a “watershed year for CASB and possibly, for public education in Colorado.  As an organization, we must be stronger, braver, fiercer, and unstoppable…striving to be more than we have ever been: for our state, our communities, for our students.”

With the challenges posed by the pandemic and other events, Ms. Clementi offered that “we have been taxed to our limits in many ways. We are, I suspect, all frustrated as we see more and more need in our communities and in our schools, with resources inadequate to meet that need.

“And it is not over:  as an education community, we are facing many more challenges: challenges that will also deeply impact the districts, the communities, and the students that we love.”

Some of these challenges are perennial -- school funding and educator compensation – and others are newer, including fair accountability; implementing universal pre-K; recruiting and retaining professional staff; and providing student and staff supports not previously seen.

“Local school boards came together more than 80 years ago to form this organization, bringing us together to make a positive difference for every district and every Colorado kid,” Ms. Clementi said. “And CASB is necessary still in order to carry the needs of every individual district forward; to educate and enlighten those who make policy and law so they see the effects of their work on real people and real students in real life.

“It is only our collective voice, our collective action, our collective wisdom and our collective stories that can have any possibility of impacting these challenges.”

The key, she said, is cohesiveness. 

“We must  come together for the sake of our communities and our kids.  We all are here for the same reason. We all volunteer our time and our passion because we love our communities and we know public education is the heart of our communities. When we focus on our shared mission, our shared passion, we prosper, and so do our schools.

“As we do our best to surround ourselves here with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and the thinkers, and most of all, those who see greatness in CASB and in public education, I believe  CASB’s next chapter will see our organization become a premier player and problem solver in  Colorado public education.

“We are stronger together, and the future is bright when we create it together.”