Candidate for Director
Wanda M. Erb, MSEd, PCSBA, SFO
Williamsport Area School District
Wanda Erb has more than 30 years in public education, with 26 years in school business leadership. Currently serving as the business administrator for the Williamsport Area School District–Home of Little League Baseball—she previously served 24 years as the business manager of the Northern Tioga School District in Elkland, Pennsylvania. Erb is also an adjunct professor in the Wilkes University School Business Leadership Program.
An active member of the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO) for over 25 years, she has held leadership positions including: President (2015-2016); Board of Directors (2010-2017); Chair of the Membership Committee; Nominating Committee; and Conference Committee. She currently serves as the Leadership Development Committee Chair and is a member of the Strategic Planning, Legislative, and Food Service Committees.
As an ASBO International member since 1995, Erb has attended many of ASBO’s Executive Leadership Forums and Annual Conferences.
RESPONSES TO ASBO BOARD QUESTIONS
Education, as we know it, is changing. The last couple of months spent in quarantine has required public education to quickly make dramatic changes in how we deliver education. ASBO must prepare members to rapidly adapt and respond to this ever-changing environment to make certain that we are doing our part to ensure every student has the opportunity to receive a quality education.
Through coordinated efforts with state and international affiliates, ASBO will foster opportunities for professional development, networking that allows for the sharing of ideas and information, collaboration, and mentoring.
Advocacy is becoming more important each day. ASBO will assist members in developing skills to effectively advocate with legislative bodies at all levels.
ASBO will continue to be the premier education association for school business leaders by providing services necessary for members to perform at the highest level of professionalism with ethical standards, professional integrity, and accountability.
Question 1: Why is ASBO International’s mission important to you? How do you support that mission in your daily work?
ASBO International’s mission is important to me because it reminds me of why we do what we do each and every day–the students. If I am ever having a truly bad day (or sometimes just to take a break), I like to wonder through one of our schools to see the students and observe the education that is taking place. We are really doing some great things in our schools.
My support of the ASBO mission comes not only through my own desire to continue to grow through participating in professional growth opportunities but also by actively assisting in the development and delivery of programs for others at the local, state, and national levels. As an adjunct instructor in the Wilkes University School Business Leadership Program and as a mentor to others, I share not only my knowledge and experience but do my best to instill the passion that I have for our profession in my students and colleagues.
As school business officials, we play a significant role in the education of the students. This role goes beyond just the financial aspect. We are responsible for ensuring the safe transportation of students to and from school, for making sure that our educational buildings and facilities are cleaned and well-maintained, for preparing nutritious meals for students to eat during the school day, and, of course, for performing all the financial activities to maintain effective educational staffing, supplies, materials, and services to ensure a quality education. I believe that what I do every day supports ASBO’s mission by positively impacting the life and education of every student in my district.
Question 2: What are the characteristics of an exemplary board member? What strengths would you bring to the position?
Characteristics of an exemplary board member include: Strong Moral Character; Dedication and Commitment; Open-Mindedness; and Forward Thinking.
Board members must possess a strong moral character, exemplifying honesty, integrity and high ethical values in everything they do. They need to be dedicated and committed to the organization and the membership. This includes being willing to spend the time necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of a board member with fidelity; coming to board meetings prepared and ready to discuss items; serving on committees; and spending the time necessary to become more knowledgeable. Board members must be open-minded. It is important for members to share their opinions and knowledge with the group but it is equally important to keep an open-mind when listening to the opinions of others. Open-mindedness requires board members to accept diversity, to acknowledge that their option is not always the best option, and to be respectful of everyone on the team. Exemplary board members are also forward thinking. In order to keep the organization relevant to membership, the focus needs to be on the future and what the needs of the membership might be in three, five, or ten years. The forward thinker will strategically review where the organization is, where it needs to be and will be instrumental in helping the organization to develop and implement a plan to get there.
I’ve always considered myself to have high moral and ethical values and I strive to demonstrate this in everything that I do. When I commit to something, I can be counted on to dedicate the time and energy necessary to be a productive member of the team. This includes taking the initiative to become more knowledgeable, volunteering to assist others, and seeing the project through to completion. Another strength that I bring to a team is the ability to share my opinion, to listen and ask questions to better understand the position of others, and to guide the team to a decision that is in the best interest of the group.
Question 3: What are some of the lessons learned during the past 12 months that SBOs should consider as they look to the future?
Together we can make it! Not necessarily the last 12 months but the experience of the last 2 ½ months spent in quarantine has only strengthened my belief that we are stronger together.
Quarantines, cancelled conferences, social distancing requirements, etc. did not deter ASBO International or our state affiliates from getting SBOs the information that we needed to move our school districts forward. Webinars and Zoom Meetings were quickly developed by our organizations to provide us with updates on legislature, answers to questions, and guidance to assist us in addressing the rapidly changing requirements. The increased use of the Global Network and other online communication tools allowed our members to share concerns, questions, advice, and best practices with one another.
The need for advocacy continues to become more important. It is necessary for SBOs to develop skills to effectively provide information to legislators by sharing our stories and the impact legislative decisions will have on the education of our students. Our organizations have taken various steps to assist SBOs in becoming more comfortable with communicating with our legislators. We will need to expand upon these efforts.
As SBOs look to the future, I believe we need to focus on developing relationships with our colleagues, organizations, and our legislators. Education is rapidly changing and if we are going to be successful in leading our school districts, we need to be willing to reach out to others to share our concerns, offer advice, and ask for assistance. We need to realize that one way or another we are in this together and together we will be successful.