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In Your Opinion: Former School Board Member Reflects On His Tenure

By Tom Lewis, Somerset

Dear Fellow Board Members:

I wanted to take a moment and wish everyone a Happy New Year and to say thanks for putting up with me, some of you for years … I don’t know how you did it.

While on the board, I made friendships that I will cherish, learned a lot, did what I thought best and tried to have a little fun too! I think it was John F Kennedy who said “I take what I do very seriously, I just don’t take myself seriously”.

Regrets? Of course. Satisfied with my results? Not even close. What did I accomplish? Very, very little. Glad I did it? You bet! Maybe “new blood” both on the board and administration will help move the district forward.

Favorite vote? Letting the home schooled soccer player go out for the high school team. I still get goose bumps remembering how the team yelled out “Go Warriors” in the hall after that meeting. One or two personnel votes were a close second but that was by far my favorite.

Easiest vote? The stadium, but that was a nine to nothing vote and I consider that a “no brainer”. Special thanks to Kim Kenny, Ed Seto and John Calavano for finding a way to do this without raising taxes. Those were my successes, a very short list.

I will, however, dwell more on my failures and wonder what I could have done differently. This is very long list and I would like to emphasize that they are MY failures and not the boards.

I’ll miss the students, staff and of course my fellow members. Some of you I have become very close to and I will miss seeing and sharing things with you. I will also miss attending graduation, Ron Richter’s College Day, and the end of year Sport’s Banquet.

I won’t miss the weeks with four committee meetings and other board obligations, or the marathon BOE monthly meetings lasting late into the night and sometimes the early morning. I won’t miss the “politics” or the hypocrisy, or the deal making. At the end of the day, we all must live with ourselves and the decisions we make.

My wish? That the new board can put aside egos and personal agendas and focus on what’s best for the district and not on what impact it would have on a particular voting block. Based on the history, I’m not optimistic.

I doubt you will see much of me as I believe being a former member doesn’t give me any greater wisdom or influence. I didn’t speak much while on the board, I never thought what I had to say was that important. I’ve been approached by several groups asking me to champion their cause and speak for them at meetings. They obviously don’t know me very well.

2014 and the decisions that have to be made will be one of the most important in a long, long time. The decisions you make will impact the district for years to come. I hope you can focus on this and not petty personal agendas.

My performance? I grade myself at a C- and that’s only because of the extra credit, Warriors on the move and the engraved bricks campaign.

Thank you again and good luck!

Your Thoughts

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