Sonoma County Office of Education

About School Boards

The Role of a School Board Member

School board members are locally elected/appointed public officials entrusted with governing their community’s public schools. The role of the school board is to ensure that school districts are responsive to the values, beliefs and priorities of their communities. Boards fulfill this role by performing five major responsibilities:

  • Setting direction
  • Establishing an effective and efficient structure
  • Providing support
  • Ensuring accountability
  • Providing community leadership as advocates for children, the school district and public schools

These five responsibilities represent core functions that are so fundamental to a school system’s accountability to the public that they can only be performed by an elected governing body. Authority is granted to the board as a whole, not each member individually. Therefore, board members fulfill these responsibilities by working together as a governance team with the superintendent to make decisions that will best serve all the students in the community.

Source: California School Boards Association


Resignations

A vacancy resulting from resignation occurs when the written resignation is filed with the county superintendent of schools having jurisdiction over the district, except where a deferred effective date is specified in the resignation so filed, in which case the resignation shall become effective on that date. A written resignation, whether specifying a deferred effective date or otherwise, shall, upon being filed with the county superintendent of schools be irrevocable.

All resigning trustees MUST submit a signed resignation letter to the county superintendent of schools for acceptance. Signed letters may be emailed to sherrington@scoe.org and vjohns@scoe.org or mailed to 5340 Skylane Blvd., Santa Rosa, CA 95403.


Appointments

The law requires a school district governing board to order an election or to make a provisional appointment within sixty (60) days from the date of the vacancy or of the filing if the resignation contains a deferred effective date (Education Code Section 5091). The effective date of the resignation may not be deferred for more than sixty (60) days after the filing with the County Superintendent of Schools (Education Code Section 5091). If the resignation contains a deferred effective date, the resigning member has the right to exercise all the powers granted to members of the governing board except that he or she does not have the right to vote on the provisional appointment of his or her successor (Education Code Section 35178). In the event that a governing board fails to make an appointment or order an election during the 60- day period, the County Superintendent is required by law to order an election to fill the vacancy.

Districts are required to keep the County Superintendent informed of all resignations and appointments. When a seat becomes vacant or filled, the district should immediately notify Vanessa Johns Wedderburn at vjohns@scoe.org.


School Board Liaison

Should a district, trustee, or community member have questions regarding school boards please contact the school board liaison:

Vanessa Johns Wedderburn
vjohns@scoe.org
(707) 524-8402