Fostering peer-to-peer learning and a NATIONAL community of practice aligned to a common theory of change. Fellows will meet twice a year to focus on networking, leadership development and policy.

Advising & Mentoring

Individual leadership development for Board Members, with a focus on how to be an effective elected leader.

Knowledge Management

Research and project support for common areas of need to increase the success of bold change initiatives.



What is the mission of School Board Partners?

The mission of School Board Partners is to help connect, inspire and support diverse school board members to be bold leaders for change in cities across the country by putting kids first in policy decisions. Across the country – especially in urban centers, the opportunity and achievement gaps are widening, and our schools are failing to adequately prepare students for college, leadership and life. School boards can be an important lever for any meaningful, lasting change. SBP seeks to help fill a gap in the ecosystem by empowering elected leaders to make a difference in students’ lives, with a specific focus on leaders of color and equity in our K-12 public school systems.

Why was SBP created?

What they often don’t tell you when you are elected to your local school board is that being a change agent can be daunting and lonely. School Board Partners was created to be just that – a partner to elected board members who ran to make a difference. Elected school board leaders desperately need access to proven networks that can support their efforts in creating high quality systems of schools.

Who are your members?

Our members and fellows are leaders, change-agents, community members and advocates. They ran for their local school boards because they saw something they wanted to change and wanted to make a personal investment in their communities. Many of our members are leaders of color, who can best understand the needs and perspectives of the students they serve. As one of our mentors said “I felt like I couldn’t sit on the sidelines any longer; I ran to take responsibility for student success in my community.”

How does it work?

Any school board member can inquire. Once accepted, our change agents are partnered with an experienced mentor who helps guide them by checking for blind sports, sharing expertise, making connections to people and resources, and helping build the skills needed to navigate the politics of education. In addition to the 1:1 mentorship our members receive, joining SBP is also about becoming  part of a community. Our members are connected to a network of peers that can support their efforts in creating high-quality educational systems through policy recommendations, data-driven metrics, shared research and more.

Who are we looking for?

School board members with a growth mindset, willing to be bold, buck the status quo, put kids at the heart of decisions, focus on equity and push for change. SBP believes that for school boards to be successful, they must understand the perspectives and needs of their students and communities. To accomplish this we must make sure that board leadership is reflective of the students and families being served.

What’s your agenda?

Our agenda is simple. If you believe, like we do, that we are fundamentally failing students of color, students from poverty or students with disabilities – and that the definition of crazy is not doing something dramatically different to change it - then you share our agenda. We need real change in our communities to ensure that we are approaching education with a focus on equity and ensuring that ALL kids can access a good public education that gives them equal opportunity to succeed. At SBP we believe that change can and must be driven by communities, with their elected school board representation helping to lead the charge. To accomplish this we must make sure that board leadership is reflective of the students and families being served. 

How can I learn more?

You can learn more by reaching out directly to our founder Carrie Douglass. Email her at and read Carrie’s story, here.