CSBA is honored to announce Milpitas Unified School District Board Vice President Chris Norwood as the 2020 CSBA Board Member of the Year recipient. Since 2014, Norwood has demonstrated what it means to lead for students, the schools they attend, and their community.
The Golden Gavel award honors individual school board members and governance teams who exemplify best practices in effective governance and boardsmanship. Norwood, himself a Milpitas High School alumnus, was chosen from among nearly 5,000 school board members making up 977 school boards throughout the state.
“Throughout his six years of service, Vice President Chris Norwood has brought to his district a strong commitment to collaboration, a desire to establish best practice in governance, and a passion for serving all stakeholders of Milpitas USD,” said 2020 CSBA President Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez. “We are honored to recognize Chris’ exemplary efforts to improve student outcomes and well-being, both in his community and at the state level.”
Norwood has taken what he learned through CSBA’s comprehensive professional development opportunities — including the Annual Education Conference, Board President’s Training, Institute for New and First Term Board Members, Masters in Governance and Orientation for New Trustees — to represent his district in working with policymakers throughout the state.
In his work with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the Silicon Valley Education Foundation, Norwood has had a hand in molding state math placement and education finance legislation; been a co-panelist with former California State Board of Education President Mike Kirst at an American Leadership Forum event; and invested heavily in community engagement by co-hosting local discussions on violence prevention, housing for teachers and vulnerable families, and other critical topics in the district.
This work has only become more vital in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly created or further exacerbated challenges for schools, students and their families. Rates of food and housing insecurity among families have risen alongside unemployment rates, school closures have spotlighted the digital divide and student and faculty mental health needs are at an all time high.
Norwood’s steadfast boardsmanship has, and will continue to, support the Milpitas USD community in overcoming adversity through dialogue and collaboration. True to his dedication to building a ‘Culture of We’ — in which the MUSD governance team internalizes an openness to differing perspectives and curiosity about what is possible through effective boardsmanship — Norwood shares credit with the current and former board members and district staff who have put in the time and effort to help build a brighter future for today’s youth.
“We all share this award together,” Norwood said. “I am grateful that we have this moment of celebration in these uncertain times, and I can give thanks to all of you in the midst of what we’re going through together. Together, we will continue to do what’s best for MUSD, the students, and the families we serve.”
Norwood accepted the award on Dec. 3 at the 2020 CSBA virtual Annual Education Conference, saying, “I’d like to thank CSBA for creating the Golden Gavel Award — it recognizes what is possible.”