Three Longtime State Education Leaders Receive National Honor

Oct 16, 2009, 14:08 ET from National Association of State Boards of Education

ARLINGTON, Va., Oct. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- State education leaders from Connecticut, Ohio and Pennsylvania are the recipients of the 2009 Distinguished Service Award by the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE). The national award is given annually to State Board of Education members in recognition of outstanding service to public education.


"Beverly Bobroske, Jennifer Sheets and Karl Girton exemplify personal and professional dedication to improving American education," said NASBE Executive Director Brenda Welburn. "Hundreds of board members serve their states every year and their accomplishments remain largely unsung even though state boards provide an independent voice for the public in developing and implementing education policy for the nation's schoolchildren. So today we celebrate the accomplishments and vision of three people who so ably further the cause of quality public education in the U.S."

In Connecticut, Beverly L. Bobroske has been a leader in public education at the local and state levels for more than 30 years. A state board member since 2005, she started as a classroom teacher before working 27 years as a guidance counselor in the Plymouth Public School system. She also served as a member and president of the Plymouth Education Association and later was appointed, then elected as a member of the Bristol Board of Education, where she served as secretary, vice chairperson, and chairperson of that local board. She was also president of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education from 2000-2003. Bobroske currently serves as chairperson of the Connecticut Technical High School Committee.

Jennifer L. Sheets' tenure on Ohio's state board ran from 1995 through June 2009, and in that time served as board president an unprecedented five times. During her leadership as president, she oversaw the development of annual Board Approved Priorities, which have guided the work of the Ohio Department of Education around academic content standards, assessments and accountability, teacher quality and school funding. In 2007-08, she led the board to develop a set of policy recommendations and comprehensive vision statement, entitled "Meeting the Challenges of the 21st Century: A Vision for Transforming PK-12 Education in Ohio." Over the last year, Mrs. Sheets played a significant role in preserving Ohio's independent state board of education structure.

Pennsylvania's Karl Girton served on the state board for 16 years as vice-chair and chairman of the Council of Basic Education before becoming chairman of the state board until his retirement in 2008. During his seven-year term of service as chairman, the state board developed and approved more policies than in any other period in its 50-year history. Some of these include conducting the Pennsylvania Achievement Gap Effort, adoption of a majority of the state academic standards, and a statewide education costing-out study. This study resulted in the adoption of a new state education funding formula designed to address the adequacy and equity of state education funding.

The awards are being presented at NASBE's national conference in Cincinnati, Ohio on October 16.

The National Association of State Boards of Education represents America's state and territorial boards of education. NASBE exists to strengthen State Boards as the preeminent educational policymaking bodies for citizens and students. For more, visit

SOURCE National Association of State Boards of Education