Board Member Distinguished Certification2018-09-07T15:13:51+00:00

Distinguished Board Member Certification

Ongoing professional development for school board members is vital to maximize their contribution to the school board and superintendent governance team. Each June at the Leadership Summit, MSBA recognizes school board members for continuing their learning beyond the state-required CBM Essential Training for new board members. Applications may be submitted at any time, but are due no later than May 1. Engraved certification plaques will be presented during the MSBA Leadership Summit.


  • Earn Essential, Advanced and Master certification
  • Earn 20 additional credits with at least six in one study strand
  • Attend two MSBA core meetings; at least one in year of application
  • Read one book from the MSBA list in the study strand related to an educational or board governance topic; complete Reflection Form
  • Observe a school board meeting in two other districts; submit observation form and agenda for each
  • Verify completion of at least eight activities in at least two of the categories of Leadership, Advocacy or Presentation and provide verification. The activities must have occurred within the most recent three consecutive years of your board services unless otherwise noted


  • Serve as MSBA Board of Directors representative for at least one year; attend entire meeting for at least 75% of the meetings
  • Fulfill responsibilities as an officer of your local board for at least one year
  • Serve as MSBA Regional Executive Committee Chair; participate in at least 75% of the meetings
  • Serve as regional representative on the MSBA Advocacy, School Resources or Leadership Development committee for at least one year; participate in at least 75% of the meetings
  • Participate in at least 75% of the local board appointed/approved committee meetings for which you are a member
  • Represent MSBA on special committees or work groups


  • Participate in at least two of the three MSBA School Board Advocacy Network (SBAN) meetings
  • Participate in two of the three MSBA Legislative Forums
  • Serve as the MSBA Delegate for your district for at least one year and participate/vote in both of the Delegate Assemblies
  • Correspond/visit with local, state and/or national elected officials in alignment with the MSBA platform for public education
  • Participate in at least one MSBA Federal Relations Network (FRN) opportunity
  • Participate in regional/community advocacy group; report to local board or use information to communicate with legislators

Make a presentation, on behalf of your board, related to a district and/or board practice/program at:

  • MSBA Annual Conference
  • MSBA Leadership Summit
  • CES Safe schools and Colleges Conference
  • MSBA Regional Meeting
  • NSBA Conference
  • Local civic club/organization, educational organization, media outlet or another school board

The application and related documentation that is required for each level of certification is located on the Forms and Resources page.

Check CBM Credits


Leadership Development Department
Phone: 800-221-6722, ext. 329

Study Strands

SA = Student Achievement
BOG = Board Operations and Governance
SLF = School Law and Finance
CIE = Contemporary Issues in Education
SSS = School Safety and Security

Core Meetings

MSBA/CES events: Regional Meetings, Annual Conference, Safe Schools Conference, Legislative Forum, Delegate Assembly, Leadership Summit; and NSBA events: Annual Conference, Federal Relations Network.

Credit Requirement

Strand credit is awarded for participation in MSBA events such as conference concurrent sessions, regional meetings, and webinars. Strand credits are also earned for participation in MSBA Delegate Assembly, online training, whole board workshops, and board self evaluation; observing board meetings in other districts; reading extra books; and attending NSBA Conference sessions.

Check your Credits

Book Requirement

Books must pertain to education or to board governance, must be authored in the last ten years, and must be at least 100 pages in length. Books must be on the approved booklist, unless prior permission is obtained from

Online Booklist by Strand
Printed Booklist

Request an Account

Remember, you’ll need your MSBA login and password to access these member-only documents. If you forgot your password, email Eileen Woody, for assistance.