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SDAO Board Leadership Academy

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**Learn more about SDAO's different academies with this 20-minute webinar.**

Special Districts Association of Oregon (SDAO) recognizes that being appointed or elected to a special district board comes with great responsibility. Staying educated on the rules and regulations that govern special districts is extremely important.


The SDAO Board Leadership Academy has been designed to ensure that Oregon’s special district board members have all the tools necessary to provide superior leadership and governance to their communities. Our self-paced, self-tracked program offers current, in-depth training and education opportunities in several areas including board member basics, statutory obligations, risk management, and human resources.


Participants can individualize their course of study to fit their unique needs with three different certificate tracks. Bronze, silver, and gold certificates are available to those that finish the corresponding module requirements.



District directors that participate in this program will:

·       Better understand the roles and responsibilities of being a special district director

·       Learn the regulations and risks facing special districts

·       Develop board leadership skills

·       Gain a broad understanding of special district governance



To participate in the program, participants must be a current board member, director or commissioner of an Oregon special district. The district must be a member of Special Districts Association of Oregon.

Eligible individuals will need to complete an enrollment form and submit it to SDAO Member Services ( to enroll. There is no charge to enroll and no obligation to finish. The only cost for the program is the cost to attend trainings.



Various educational opportunities are available for each module and each training will be available through courses provided by SDAO and approved affiliate organizations. In-person trainings will be held at regional trainings and conferences. Online options will also be made available. Credit-eligible courses will be specifically indicated within the course description and on any course marketing materials.



Below are the program modules and required trainings for each. All credits must be completed in order to receive credit for the entire module. Trainings must be provided by SDAO or pre-approved affiliate.


Module 1: Board Member Basics

·       Powers and Protections

·       Roles and Responsibilities

·       Representing the Board

·       Ordinances and Resolutions

·       Ethics

·       Public Meetings


Module 2: Statutory Responsibilities

·       Public Records

·       Public Contracting

·       Local Budgeting and Finance


Module 3: Risk Management

·       Analyzing Exposure to Risk

·       ADA Compliance

·       General Risk Management

·       Contingency Plans: Disaster Preparedness and Succession Planning


Module 4: Human Resources

·       Evaluating your Executive Director/General Manager/Fire Chief

·       Harassment and Discrimination

·       Wrongful Termination

·       Cultural Diversity


Participants can receive a bronze, silver, or gold certificate after completing certain modules. All trainings within a module must be completed to receive credit for that module.   


Bronze Certificate

Participants will need to complete modules 1-2 to receive a bronze level certificate.


Silver Certificate

Participants will need to complete bronze level requirements and module 3 to receive a silver level certificate.


Gold Certificate

Participants will need to complete silver level requirements and module 4 to receive a gold level certificate.


Participants will have three years to complete the requirements for the bronze certificate. There is no time requirement to achieve silver and gold levels; however, the bronze-level certificate must be earned within three years from the date of enrollment before silver and gold can be awarded.



Participants will track their progress by using the self-tracking worksheet. Certificates will be provided to attendees at each training to facilitate tracking progress. When all trainings have been completed, individuals can apply for program certificate(s) by submitting their tracking worksheet and training certificates to


Participants that successfully complete the program will receive a certificate of completion, recognition at the SDAO Annual Conference and mention on SDAO’s social media and newsletter.