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The Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) today announced on Sept. 26 that Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel will be leaving to become the executive director of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) effective December 1, 2012.
“Tom’s dedication, hard work and passion in advocating for school boards and the children they serve in Pennsylvania have been greatly appreciated,” said PSBA President Robert Lumley-Sapanski, a school board director in the Bellefonte Area School District. “While this is a great loss for our state association, it is very exciting to know he will be able to guide the conversation on public education at the national level as executive director of NSBA. He will represent Pennsylvania well in his new endeavor.”
“I am proud of our accomplishments over the past 11 years as executive director,” Gentzel said. “I am sincerely grateful for the support I’ve received from the Board of Directors, our members and our dedicated employees. PSBA is well positioned to continue to lead the public education dialog here in the commonwealth.”
Gentzel has been with PSBA since 1980, serving in a number of roles including as a lobbyist and assistant executive director for Governmental & Member Relations for a total of 21 years. Some of the accomplishments during that time included:
•Leading the lobbying effort resulting in the first-ever reforms of teacher tenure and collective bargaining laws, and was successful in securing enactment of mandate relief.
•Preparing white papers and other research-based arguments on behalf of PSBA’s legislative agenda that were widely disseminated to legislators, news media, PSBA members and other stakeholders.
•Developing an extensive grassroots member advocacy network, including more than 60 county legislative meetings annually, periodic Lobby Days at the Capitol, and use of electronic communications to engage members in promoting legislative positions.
In 2001, Gentzel was named the fifth executive director of PSBA, the oldest school boards association in the nation, which serves and represents more than 5,000 school directors, administrators and other school officials throughout Pennsylvania. In this position, he served as chief executive officer of the association and four related entities (PSBA Insurance Trust, School Boards Insurance Company of Pennsylvania, School Claims Service LLC, and School Board Services LLC) with more than 140 employees. During his tenure as executive director, Gentzel oversaw the process to:
•Significantly increase non-dues revenue through entrepreneurial programs as well as royalty and sponsorship payments.
•Promulgate Standards for Effective School Governance and a Code of Conduct for School Board Members that link the work of boards to enhancing student achievement, which were adopted by more than 80% of school boards in the state.
•Establish programs to recognize and promote exemplary governance, including Master School Board Member and Distinguished School Board programs.
•Engage the membership in addressing policy issues through the creation of task forces that developed the governance standards and code of conduct, recommended reforms of the school retirement system, and proposed changes to collective bargaining laws.
•Enact major changes to the regional structure of PSBA to more actively engage members in the work of the association.
•Build a new PSBA headquarters in Mechanicsburg, PA.
Gentzel has earned both a Bachelor of Science in Community Development and a Master of Public Administration from The Pennsylvania State University.
The PSBA Board of Directors will conduct a search for Gentzel’s successor.
PSBA is a nonprofit statewide association of public school boards, pledged to the highest ideals of local lay leadership for the public schools of the commonwealth. Founded in 1895, PSBA was the first school boards association established in the United States.