A mission completed
BY IVAN SANDERS
Two long-standing Elizabethton City Board of Education members made their last appearance in that role on Tuesday evening as Chairwoman Rita Booher and Dr. Grover Mays brought an end to their term on the board.
Booher has served 14 years on the board while Dr. May finished his eighth year. Neither had sought re-election in November’s elections to keep their respective seats.
In Dr. Mays closing remarks to the board and those in attendance, he said that he appreciated the opportunity to serve on the Board of Education and found that he actually enjoyed himself more than what he actually thought that he would.
“I started out with kind of a desire to make a difference and do things,” Dr. Mays stated. “When we started, I think that we represent various areas of kinds of circles and to know that we gained respect for one another. I feel so relieved.”
Dr. Mays worked with three different Board Directors during his tenure and commented that he had learned something different from each one of them and went on to add that he thanked them for their input.
“The system is better when we all work together and when we find that we represent from each of our spheres of influence our basis of knowledge for a common purpose and that is the purpose of the students,” added Dr. Mays.
“I am becoming a student once again. I am starting my MBA and so next year I step back to do that and also running a business with three locations right now and growing rapidly I felt like I needed to take a step back from the school system and kind of focus on those things.”
Dr. Mays left a charge with the new board members coming in, Jamie Bass and Mike Wilson, and offered his assistance at any time.
“With that said, I charge the new board members to always place the students first. I look forward to watching and being supportive and if there is anything that I can do to help any of you I would give my time and energies to do so,” Dr. Mays continued.
He thanked Chairwoman Booher for being the best Chair that he had ever worked with and said through her example that it has inspired him in other boards that he serves on as a Chair as he learned a lot from everyone on the board.
He concluded his remarks by saying, “This process has made me a better doctor, a better friend, and a better leader in my own spheres. Thank you to the City of Elizabethton and the students and all those with who I have been able to cross paths with.”
For Booher, it was an emotional time of saying goodbye after spending the last 14 years helping to make decisions that have impacted 1000s of students during her tenure.
“I remembered in Matt Cooter’s last meeting he cried and I was just sitting there saying, “Oh don’t do that,” and I am going to fail miserably,” Booher said between wiping droplets of tears from her eyes.
“There have been days I didn’t look forward to these meetings because you dreaded them so badly and then there have been so many good meetings. I am very proud of this school system and I am proud of where we have been and I am so excited about where we are going.”
She told those in attendance that it was important that there is evidence much like footprints that are left when walking on a sandy beach that changes have been made that impacted the lives of students in a school system.
“I think a good school board leaves a small footprint because at the end of the day our great teachers take care of our students, great principals take care of great teachers, and great administrators take care of great principals and a great director takes care of everybody,” she said.
“A good board taking care of their good director can do great things. So my charge is to leave a small footprint. You get to make big wide-sweeping decisions but make sure they are always made with every child at heart.
“Every time you are discussing something if you are using the word ‘I’ or ‘me’ you always need to be about the kids.”
Booher closed her comments by thanking those that she has worked with over the years and said everything that she has tried to do was for the betterment of the school system.
“I have had the privilege of working with some long-time friends and I have met people that I would have never met if I hadn’t been on this board,” Booher said. “The three directors I have worked with have been wonderful and I am excited for you (current Director- Richard VanHuss) because you are going to do great things.
“Thank you for re-electing me and I have always prayed that I haven’t done anything to embarrass the school system.”
Phil Isaacs who was currently re-elected to his seat took a moment to thank Booher and Dr. Mays for their service.
“It’s been a pleasure serving with you guys for the last eight years,” stated Isaacs. “We have been through a lot and we have also accomplished a lot in the last eight years which I am very proud of and proud to say that we worked together to accomplish a lot of those things.
“Just for myself, I appreciate your all’s service and I just look forward to seeing you as friends in the future.”
The new board will meet for the first time in the December meeting tentatively set for Thursday, December 17, 2020, at 6:30 pm in the Mack Pierce Board Meeting Room.