Professional Development Offerings


MABE’s goal for professional development is to promote student achievement and effective local governance of schools by ensuring that all school board members understand the NSBA Key Work Model for effective school board leadership. MABE offers diverse and extensive board development programs, designed for the new board member and veteran alike. For more information about any of these programs, please contact Molly Young, Director of Board Development.

MABE Annual Conference

Save the Date:
October 6-8, 2021

Board Service Academy

Ongoing trainings
throughout 2021

National School Board Association Conference

April 8-10, 2021

Other MABE Training Programs

MABE offers a diverse range of ongoing training opportunities for our members. Some programs can be customized to meet your local board’s unique needs. For additional information, please contact Molly Young, Director of Board Development.

Leadership Program

After completing the first year of board service, members have the opportunity for comprehensive continuing education through MABE’s Board Leadership Program. This program provides members with the next level of knowledge and skills necessary to govern effectively.

This program consists of the following elements and may be completed within 2 years:

  • A minimum of eight (8) courses selected from the Board Service Academy workshops. Please note:
    • Participants must complete “Understanding the Work of the State Board” and a course addressing board culture or effective governance
    • Attendance at the MABE Conference, NSBA Conference, NSBA Equity Symposium, NSBA Advocacy Institute, or another approved non-Academy learning opportunity can be used in place of two Board Service Academy workshops
  • Read NSBA’s Key Work of School Boards and complete the questionnaire in the packet
  • Attendance at a board of education meeting other than your own
  • Participation in board and/or MABE leadership activities such as MABE committee membership or leadership activities on your own board
  • Up to two check-in conversations with MABE’s Director of Board Development (optional)


Workshops change from year to year and in the past have included:

  • Understanding the Work of the State Board* – gives board members a greater understanding of the State Board, how it operates, and the kind of decisions it makes
  • Policy Development – the policy development process including strategies for using board policies in the decision-making process
  • Assessment – the elements of assessments and using data to drive student achievement
  • Leadership – understanding the nature and process of board leadership
  • Budget – the underlying components of funding formulas and budget process
  • Communication – effective skills that enhance communication with fellow board members and stakeholders
  • Working with the Media – strategies for Staying on message@ and effectively managing media relations
  • Roles and Responsibilities of Board Members
  • Facilitating Meetings – strategies for effectively conducting a meeting
  • Legislative Skills – methods and strategies for working with local, state, and federal legislators to advance the public education agenda
  • Leadership in Supervision and Evaluation of the Superintendent – best practices and use of evaluation tools to achieve system goals

Program Cost: $475. This includes all materials, registration for Board Service Academy courses, and coaching/mentoring for the duration of the program. The cost of registration for the MABE conference, NSBA events/conferences and other non-Academy education sessions are not covered by this fee.

*Course required for Program participants

New Board Member Orientation

August 4, 2021 - New STUDENT Board Member Orientation (Virtual Event) ($75) | Register
January 31, 2022 – New Board Member Orientation (Virtual Event) ($150) |  Register

This program is designed to teach the essentials of school governance, enabling new members to quickly assume an active role in school board decision making. Orientation will introduce the Key Work of School Boards and immerse members in the basics of school law, policy, finance, advocacy, and more.

New Board Member Orientation is open to all new board of education members.

For information about upcoming orientations, please contact Molly Young, Director of Professional Development.

Programs for Local Boards

Programs for boards of education are designed as opportunities for local boards to experience training as a team and are generally conducted in the members’ county. To discuss a program for your board, please contact Molly Young, Director of Board Development.

Board Retreats

MABE recommends boards conduct at least one retreat annually, and can provide a trained facilitator to help accomplish this goal. In addition to the following retreat topics, MABE is able to customize retreats to fit your board’s unique needs.

Key Work of School Boards

An in-depth study of the eight elements of the key work of school boards as identified by the National School Boards Association. Members will assess their own strengths and areas for growth, discuss the roles of the board and superintendent, and determine a focus for their own work.

Vision Building

Designed to explore the school system’s vision, mission, and core values. Topics include a discussion of the components of an effective vision and mission, elements of core values and their importance in school systems today.

Board Self Evaluation

Just as boards evaluate the superintendent, they also should evaluate themselves and the effectiveness of their performance as governors of the school system.  Areas for self evaluation can include: instructional program; finance; board and superintendent relations; board performance/ operations; community, engagement and board meetings.  This review can lead the board to identify its own goals as they relate to supporting the school system.

Board Operations

A comprehensive look at the roles and responsibilities of board members and the superintendent. Topics can include communication   strategies, goal setting, methods for establishing a strong working relationship, and keeping student achievement at the forefront of decision making.

Team Building

Designed to examine the stages of team development and growth. Topics include a self assessment of the board and superintendent as a team, stages of group development, strategies for reaching success at each stage, understanding how personal style impacts communication, and strategies to strengthen the team.

Strategic Planning

Designed to develop or update a strategic plan. Elements include reviewing the school system’s mission and vision, an analysis of the current plan (if applicable), strengths and gaps in the school system, and identification of goal areas.

Master Board

Level I: Basic

This program is designed for boards with three or more new members, or boards desiring an opportunity to revisit some of the basics of good governance. It covers five major themes: Governance, Vision, Roles and Responsibilities, Communication, and Norms. Because board members are at different stages in their development, Level I: Basic will be adapted to the unique strengths and needs of each school board.

The Master Board Program, Level I, requires:

  • Commitment to participation by the entire board and superintendent
  • Five to six sessions to be conducted in the board’s home district held in conjunction with a board work session, a dinner meeting, or a retreat
  • Attendance at a Boardsmanship Academy course, MABE conference, or session/seminar related to governance topics by each member, with topic and implications shared with their colleagues
  • Pre- and post-assessments completed as a board
  • Development of board goals

Program Cost: $2000. This includes all materials.

Level II: Advanced

This program is designed to refine school boards’ collective skills in the areas of team building, communication, problem solving, and decision making. The program responds to the desire of the board to learn as a team and address the challenges they face in their local school system.

Master Board courses are based on the eight action areas in the Key Work of School Boards. Courses utilize a variety of tools including surveys, simulations, and case studies that align with current issues. Content will be tailored to the needs and expectations of each board.

The Master Board Program, Level II, requires:

  • Commitment to participation by the entire board
  • Four to five sessions to be conducted in the board’s home district held in conjunction with a board work session, a dinner meeting, or a retreat
  • Attendance at either one Board Service Academy course, MABE Annual Conference, or NSBA Convention by each board member
  • Pre- and post-assessments completed as a board
  • Development of board goals

Program Cost: $2000. This includes all materials.

Legal Services Seminars

MABE’s Legal Services Association assists members through education, representation, and advocacy.

2021 Legal Services Association Seminars:

Members use code MEMBER100 (all caps) to register

Examples of future topics may include:

  • Internet Law and the Schools
  • Religion in the Schools
  • Freedom of Speech in the Schools
  • Search and Seizure
  • Student-on-Student Sexual Harassment

View Legal Services

All Board Service Academies and committee meetings are virtual during this time.

If you have any questions, please email