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Nominee Statement: Tara Lebar

Nominee for Board Director: 

 Tara Lebar

Tara Lebar
Associate Director, Academic Affairs

Kansas Board of Regents

 

Board members contribute many valuable skills to their work on the board, including leadership abilities, budget or financial planning, communications and media relations, advocacy and strategic planning, and other skills. How does your experience and skill set prepare you to be an effective board member? 

*Statement submitted June 3, 2021

The power of NACAC comes from admissions professionals and counselors across the world joining Independent Education Consultants & Community Based Organizations to champion the opportunity for higher education.  Our NACAC board needs directors who will advocate for all members while keeping the individual student’s journey in mind.  Working as a comprehensive public-school counselor, my most important job was advocating for our students.  Sometimes that advocacy was communicating with their teacher or administrator.  Sometimes it was having difficult conversations helping parents see their child in a new way or giving voice to something my student was just on the verge of discovering. Advocacy takes listening, confidence, leadership, problem-solving, communication, and collaboration.  In my current position with the Kansas Board of Regents, I’ve been given the opportunity to advocate for college-bound students across the state.  I help our school counselors understand the resources and opportunities public higher education holds for every Kansas resident. I work with my Academic Affairs team to dismantle systemic barriers that disproportionately impact students of color, first-generation students, and under-resourced communities through examining our institutional admission policies and providing programmatic support at the high school level.  As a liaison with the Kansas State Department of Education, I’ve facilitated teams of professionals to examine the post-secondary transition, creating resources, presentations & webinars to make the path to higher education as transparent as possible.

In GPACAC & NACAC, I found a community of passionate individuals who shared my belief that higher education should be equally accessible to all students.  As the Great Plains ACAC treasurer and then president, I learned how essential finances were to expand our vision and mission across Nebraska, Kansas & Oklahoma.  In 2015, my affiliate president peers elected me to be the next NACAC Presidents Council Coordinator.  In this role, I helped facilitate two annual leadership events while serving as an advocate and point of contact for our affiliate leaders.  Together we began to discuss the NACAC membership model change focusing on potential implications for our various regions.  Participating in the Ad Hoc Committee on Governance Restructuring, we used our experience, creativity, and passion for NACAC to examine standard policies and practices.  We recommended and presented changes that would bring about transparency, better representation, and create needed flexibility for our national organization.  

I will always be a school counselor at heart, yet I know that NACAC is bigger than just one group.  We have 23,000+ members who believe in the ethics and mission of our organization, repeatedly giving their time and care to the students they serve.   As we move out of the pandemic, our NACAC board will help guide the organization under a new membership model, new governance structure, and new management.  It will take innovation and creativity to address the revenue challenges we are facing.  As a board director, I will use my talents & experience to advocate for all members as we work together to tackle the challenges ahead and champion the opportunity for higher education for every individual.

 

 

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