Avon's Welch named NYSSBA's Champion for Change

On Board Online • May 28, 2018

By Eric D. Randall

Julie Welch, who has sparked a "growth mindset" on the Avon school board, has been named the 2018 recipient of the New York State School Boards Association Champion for Change Award.

The award is presented to an individual who is serving in their first five years as a school board member and demonstrates leadership by enhancing educational opportunities for all students.

Since joining the Avon board in July, Welch has demonstrated an upbeat personality and peppered her colleagues on the board with questions, according to Superintendent Aaron R. Johnson. And that has had positive effect on the board's culture, he said.

"Inquisitive in all aspects of her role, Julie seeks first to understand by asking thoughtful questions that benefit all members," Johnson wrote in a letter of recommendation. "Often, Julie's questions draw out deeper details and data from our administrative staff . Her questioning and curiosity have enhanced our board's decision-making in a positive way by creating a culture of wonder."

He also credited Welch with sparking a "growth mindset" on the board. "As a result of Julie's interest and encouragement, the board instituted a new annual goal-setting process, self-evaluation and quarterly formative self-reflection." Board members have coined a new team mission statement: "Working Together for a Common Vision . Student Success."

District clerk Mia Kellogg noted that Welch has attended numerous trainings offered by NYSSBA including the Capital Conference as well as in-district training such as a poverty simulation.

"Julie is well-respected in our community and she takes great pride in representing our school district," Kellogg wrote in a letter of recommendation. "She is committed to finding new ways to help students succeed and help them become lifelong learners . Julie's passion for education is endless, and I am excited to see what new ideas she brings forth in the future."

Welch serves on the district's policy, technology and shared decision-making committees. In addition, Welch helped spearhead the board's quarterly recognition of the "Arts and Music Award" and developed a special award to honor sectional champion athletes.

Welch is serving her second year of a three-year term as an elected Board of Education trustee for the Avon Central School District. She first moved to the Avon community in 2000 with her husband and Avon High School graduate Dan Welch. Three of her four children are Avon graduates, and her youngest son, Thomas, is currently in eighth grade.

"Julie Welch is truly a 'champion for change,'" said NYSSBA President William Miller. "Her innovative and ethical leadership is a model for us all."

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