Byrd distinguishes herself among statewide school board members

The ApopkaVoice | June 10, 2020

“Congratulations! Your perseverance and dedication to your professional development have resulted in you being distinguished as a Florida School Boards Association Certified Board Member.  Only 28% of the school board members in the state hold this distinction.”

These were the first words Melissa Byrd read in an email she received this week, notifying her that she was Orange County Public School Board’s newest Certified Board Member (CBM). Byrd, Orange County School Board Member (District #7), earned this distinction by completing 96 hours of training in three different content areas. The bulk of this training falls under Boardsmanship, School Finance, Policy Governance, Bargaining and Personnel, Curriculum and Instruction, State/Federal Legislative Processes, and School Law.

Byrd was elected to the Orange County Public School Board in November 2018, winning with 63% of the vote.

Because District #7 was vacated by Christine Moore in 2018 to run for County Commission, it was a special election to complete the final two years of the four-year term. Consequently, Byrd is up for re-election in November this year.

“I am proud to recognize Melissa as a Certified Board Member,” FSBA Director of Leadership Services Tina Pinkoson stated. “Since her election in 2018 she has shown a willingness and desire to learn. She is in FSBA’s class of Emerging Leaders and has continued to prioritize
leadership development so she can be a highly effective school board member.”

While she is an Apopka resident, District #7 covers northwest Orange County which includes the Apopka, Ocoee, and Wekiva high schools and their middle and elementary schools that feed into them as well.

Byrd’s participation in the CBM program was voluntary, and while it usually takes two years, Byrd completed it within 18 months.

“Committing to the hard work that becoming a certified board member entails was never a question for me”, says Byrd. “It has been my honor to serve the children of Orange County and anything I can do to do that job better, I am willing to do.”


The MISSION of the Florida School Boards Association is to increase student achievement through the development of effective school board leadership and advocacy for public education.

Members of the Florida School Boards Association share common BELIEFS concerning educational theory and practice.  We believe:

  • Children/Students should be the center of educational efforts.
  • Children will learn with proper expectations and resources.
  • Children must be motivated to become active learners and education should be focused on designated outcomes.
  • Children must be prepared to live, learn, work, and communicate in a diverse society.
  • Educational systems should develop and must make available programs that enable each child to learn and develop at his/her maximum potential.
  • Florida’s system of education requires effective legislative participation in order to exercise school boards’ constitutional right to control, manage, and operate school districts.
  • Legislative decisions concerning the education and welfare of young people can best be made with informed input from stakeholders.
  • Training and communication are essential for organizational change and individual growth.
  • Education is a dynamic process with a commitment to make systemic changes to meet the evolving needs of society.
  • The federal and state governments and the Department of Education should provide adequate resources to support local school boards’ responsibilities to their community.
  • Education must build community-wide partnerships. It takes a whole village to raise a child. It does not matter who gets credit as long as the job gets done.
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