Les Brown, Washougal School District Communications and Technology Director, was recognized earlier this year as a leader in modern governance. The Diligent Corporation announced the honorees of the Inaugural Modern Governance 100 Community Boards, a program dedicated to the recognition of community governance leaders who are committed to driving positive organizational change.

In a year of unprecedented challenges, the program shines a light on publicly elected boards and councils as well as the professionals that support them. These honored community leaders have demonstrated resilience, dedication and empathy in the face of complex and challenging times, when good governance matters more than ever.

“I’m very proud of the work I do supporting our citizen school board, and the thoughtful way they approach the work of governing our district,” said Brown.  “Our board and leadership are focused on our mission of knowing, nurturing and challenging all students to rise, and I am fortunate to get to work directly with them as they lead our community of learners.”

WSD leadership has worked to increase citizen and student participation in the work of the school board, increasing opportunities for public comment, having a student representative to our school board, and using technology tools to enable participation by more patrons in board meetings. “Our school board is committed to listening to our community, and we use a mix of technology tools and in-person participation to ensure all voices are heard as we inform critical decisions,” said Brown. “Our board’s goal on equity recognizes that not all learners are equally successful, and the imperative to disrupt systems that are perpetuating systemic racism.”

Over the last year, governance leaders faced an array of new challenges, from the COVID-19 pandemic to civil unrest to shifting to work from home offices. In the face of these changes, governance experts redefined their roles and helped to ensure service continuity and long-term organizational success. The professionals recognized by the Modern Governance 100 Community Boards program demonstrated exceptional work throughout the year, with a consistent focus on communication, collaboration, and community.

“Amidst all of the changes and hardships we’ve faced this year, the Modern Governance 100 Community Boards program reminds us that there is a very human side to governance. Every day, there are talented people working behind-the-scenes to drive real change for their organizations,” said Brian Stafford, CEO of Diligent. “At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that it’s individuals who navigate the complex realities of our world to make good governance decisions. At Diligent, we strive to honor those who have exceled in their roles and gone above and beyond to help their organizations thrive in turbulent times.”