Voters elected Tina Certain to a second term on the School Board of Alachua County (SBAC) in August. Three months later, her peers elected her the chair of the county’s first-ever all-female school board.
Now, she’s picked up another title: Last week the Florida School Board Association (FSBA) announced Certain will become its president in 2023.
“I haven’t really thought about all of it, so I don’t know how to feel,” Certain said in a phone interview. “It is a lot, but I am hopeful. I worked hard and stayed diligent in having a voice and influence in improving student outcomes.”
The FSBA is a nonprofit corporation representing elected school boards in Florida. Its mission is to “focus on increasing student achievement through the development of effective school board leadership and advocacy for public education,” according to the FSBA website.
After serving as FSBA treasurer for a term, Certain applied for a non-specific office. The nominating committee evaluated Certain’s application, conducted an extensive interview process, then recommended her for the position of president-elect.
“When they asked me if I wanted to take the position as president-elect, I was surprised because I didn’t apply for this specific title,” Certain said. “I wanted to stay as treasurer because I thought the time commitment would be too much, but after the interview, I agreed to accept the title.”
As president-elect, Certain is a member of the executive committee, a core leadership team for the organization. Her role involves developing organization leaders and discussing long-range planning ideas.
Certain assembled a committee for long-range planning to ensure financial sustainability.
"I'm working on financial sustainability because there is a change in school boards," Certain said. "Some of them, with the governor endorsing candidates, induce a lot of politicization in our school board offices. We are trying to ensure we diversify our revenue sources."
Once officially president in June 2023, Certain will have to switch gears and decide what she will focus on during her presidency. She said she has not yet settled on anything specific.
Certain is the fifth SBAC member to hold the presidency of FSBA. Bob Howe (1981), Charles Chestnut III (1987), Barbara Sharpe (2001), and April Griffin (2017), all served on the SBAC and held the title of FSBA president.
Certain said having a local school board member on the FSBA committee could benefit Alachua County.
"I think it could have a positive effect because I'm representing the state, as well as my local district," Certain said. "I can bring attention to our district's thoughts since I have a seat at the table on the state level. So, it does have the potential to elevate any issues or concerns that pop up locally."
Certain will continue to hold the title of SBAC chair until the November 2023 reorganization meeting. At that time the board will select a new chair and Certain will continue to hold her regular board member seat representing District 1.