Veteran board member reflects on education
Rosie Hussey, a veteran member and past president of the Iowa State Board of Education, reflected on her 13 years of board service. Hussey has been described by fellow board members as a "steady voice for education in Iowa" and was credited with helping a formerly divisive board work together years ago. Hussey was honored by the board during her final meeting on Thursday.
- There are undoubtedly many things you have learned while serving on the board. What was your biggest “a-ha” moment?
Change is difficult in any large organization. I have learned if we have good data collection and analyze the information, we can provide leadership with a vision. The board works hard to collect the right data, analyze information from all views, and set policy. At the same time, we work hard to bring all of our constituents along with us in the process. We then must be persistent in following through to be sure the policy is implemented and working as we planned. Working hard for Iowa students is always our focus. We must be of common purpose and not lose sight of our goals.
- In your time on the board, what was the single biggest issue that came to the State Board of Education? Why do you see it as the biggest issue?
Development of the Iowa Core will have the most dramatic influence on education in Iowa. These standards, developed by educators, will raise all schools to their highest levels. It is also changing assessments and how we measure student achievement.
- Has education changed during your tenure? How?
As a board, we still advocate for local control. However, we have integrated “competency-based education” and “Multi-tiered System of Supports” into our education system. These systems give the teachers the tools they need to help their students.
- What do you think Iowa’s education system will look like in 10 years? 20? 100?
In the future, we will not recognize education as we know it today. We plan strategically; however, the continuous advancement of technology and globalization of the world will lead learners to a place we cannot imagine today. Students will learn on their own, use global resources and progress independently. Boundaries will disappear, geographically and institutionally. Because of population shifts and the issue of rural schools, we will have to change the way we deliver education. We must embrace and lead change. Learning will be lifelong.
- What was your favorite part of being on the board? Least favorite?
As president of the Iowa State Board of Education, I have worked alongside five directors. Each brought his/her own vision and strengths, and I learned from them. I have enjoyed working with the committed and knowledgeable staff. We are very fortunate to have these folks working on behalf of our students. Governor Branstad’s focus on education and passion to make Iowa education the best in the world has inspired me to work harder for our Iowa students. I will enjoy having a night stand and coffee table not struggling under the weight of the books, reports and reams of information that I needed to understand and digest every month.
- What advice would you offer your successor?
I advise the board to follow through on the board priorities. It takes years to implement change: Keep at it. Our board culture is one of respect. I believe a rancorous board gets little accomplished. We have worked hard to develop a camaraderie among our members; I hope that continues. I appreciate the 13 years I have served on this board and the 13 years I served on the North Iowa Area Community College Board. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve Iowa students.