Three liberty-oriented groups in North Carolina and South Carolina have announced a new initiative to provide education, training, and support for school board members.

The Carolinas Academic Leadership Network (CALN) is a collaborative effort between the John Locke Foundation, the Palmetto Promise Institute, and the South Carolina Policy Council. The ultimate goal is to improve student achievement in school districts by empowering school board members.

The new initiative drops as parental frustration with school boards remains at high levels coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these parents ran for school board in 2022 and are now serving in those roles.

“We established CALN to support new and existing board members who are rising to meet these challenges,” said John Locke Foundation CEO Amy Cooke. “School board members are knowledgeable and passionate about education. However, we’ve heard from members looking for professional development areas like management, budgeting, communications, and leadership. CALN will provide opportunities to help both incoming and veteran board members so they can focus on student achievement and excellence in education.”

In June, CALN will host a kickoff event with various speakers, including North Carolina Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, South Carolina Congressman Ralph Norman, and former United States Secretary of Education Mitchell “Mick” Zais. In September, CALN will host a training event on communications (including crisis communications), parliamentary procedure, and Roberts Rules of Order.

The day-to-day operations of CALN will be overseen by Kelly Mann, the program’s director of external affairs.

“We invite all school board members in North and South Carolina to join us in this exciting initiative,” Mann stated. “Together, we can improve schools across the Carolinas while keeping students at the center.”