Osvaldo Romero, of the Robstown Independent School District, was among a group of school board members gathering in Austin Nov. 4-6 to focus on their roles as advocates for public schools with state and national policymakers.

Trustees, who met for the second of five training sessions of Leadership TASB, began their activities by touring the state Capitol and participating in in-depth advocacy training. On Friday, the group toured Austin's KIPP Public School, a K-12 charter school. KIPP schools also are located in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio and in more than 30 other states. Following KIPP and lunch at the UIL headquarters, the group toured The Griffin School, a private college preparatory high school with a unique emphasis on fine arts. On Saturday, speakers included Arch Lustberg and Jim Bearden, CSP. Lustberg, a nationally recognized trainer in effective communication, provided the group with tips on effective strategies for contacts with policymakers. His client list includes numerous political candidates, corporate executives and university classes.

Bearden, a nationally known motivational speaker and author of "The Relentless Search for Better Ways," focused on techniques of successful leaders and leadership requirements needed in the 21st Century. Selected by TASB, the group of 30 trustees is participating in a year-long education leadership study program.

The Leadership TASB class of 2011 represents Texas school districts of all sizes, with student populations of 275 to 106,000, and reflects a wide range of property wealth. Participants who complete all required elements of the study will graduate next year with a unique designation recognized by TASB.

Each session has a specific theme that builds on the previous session, and features state and national experts in the fields of leadership development and education. Teams also work on extended learning assignments between meetings throughout the year. Created in 1993, Leadership TASB has more than 600 graduates to date. TASB is a voluntary, nonprofit association established in 1949 to serve local Texas school districts.

The districts they represent serve approximately 4.7 million public school students.