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School Board Members Bid Adieu To Two Of Their Own

The Board of Education said good-bye to members Margaret Steele and Richard Seamon on Dec. 20.


The Board of Education Dec. 20 used the last meeting of the year to say thank-you and goodbye to two members who will not return next year.

Bord members Margaret Steele and Rich Seamon decided not to run for re-election in November. Steele has served one four-year term, while Seamon has served more than 10 years, on and off, since 1998.

Former board members Ed Potosnak and Patricia Stanley, both of whom lost their bid for re-election in 2017, were sent back to the board by voters in November. They are scheduled to rejoin the board at its Jan. 3, 2019 reorganization meeting.

Steele became emotional while saying her goodbyes at the conclusion of teh meeting.

“I’m such a baby,” she said, laughing.

“It’s been a wonderful experience,” she said. “I just want to thank Christine (Danielsen) for walking across the street and inviting me to run for the board. It’s a journey that I probably would never even imagined or thought about, especially not having children.”

“I didn’t know anything, and you’re always learning, and there’s a lot to learn because the district is so huge,” she said. “But what I do know and what I can say is that everybody up here is so dedicated. What I also know is that being around for the past four years, we definitely have the best teachers, administrators, parents guardians, these people are dedicated. Our teachers are really excellent.”

“Your students, your children, everybody, you’re just so blessed to have such dedicated teachers who work very hard,” Steele said.

“It has been my honor to serve the community of Franklin Township,” Seamon said. “As a civil engineer, I always seemed to be put on the same committees, I spent a lot of time on facilities and safety and security.”

“The things I’m most proud of are the high school referendum from 2000, and certainly the current referendum that’s just finishing, the last long-range facilities plan and the one we’re just finishing, very proud of being part of the accomplishments for the district,” he said.

Board vice-president Ardaman Singh also thanked Steele and Seamon for their service.

“I have been on the board for two years, but I have learned a lot from both of them sitting in committee meetings and in public sessions, and I hope whoever comes has seen some of the meetings and continues the cordial way and respects each other when we have the meetings,” she said. “You both will be missed, but I hope I will see both of you in the audience, talking during public comment and still working for our schools.”

Danielsen thanked Steele for “her service on the board. She brought a calming influence to the board and we all really appreciated that. Rich, I want to thank you for bringing you expertise to the facilities committee, it was always appreciated.”

“You guys will definitely be missed,” she said.

“Rich and Margaret you guys have been great to work with, and I also want to thank the remainder of the board for making this first year such a unique and great experience for me,” board member Michael Smith said.

“I look at this from the point of view of sports and being on a team,” said board member Michelle Shelton. “You really appreciate when people can come together and agree or disagree in such a respectful and even cohesive way.”

“Rich and Margaret, you guys will be sorely missed because you guys bring a piece of this team that I’m so familiar with after being here for just a year. We know that you have things you want to do, but still stay a part” of the board.

Laurie Merris thanked Steele and Seamon for “the expertise that you both brought from very different arenas in life. That’s one of the things that I value about this board, that each person contributes a unique perspective to the good of our kinds in this township.”

“We will miss you, we know that you will stay involved because you are committed to our Franklin kids,” she said.

Board president Nancy LaCorte said Steele was “such a joy to work with.”

LaCorte also noted Steele’s “enthusiasm at curriculum committees, you were just so excited. As excited as all the staff members who come in to present their curriculum.”

“In negotiations, Margaret, it’s been a long time since I sat on the steps in Middlebush School, and you brought me back to a very long time ago, and it was a pleasure to take that journey with you,” she said.

“Rich, I’ve worked with you the longest, on a lot of committees, and I thought I understood engineering and I’ve learned so much from you,” LaCorte said. “Your technological knowledge, your knowledge of the community and your knowledge of the history of Franklin has been wonderful. For that I thank you.”

“This is a team, and this is a really good team,” LaCorte said. “This is a year where I really feel like I’ve won this year. We couldn’t do it without all of you guys.”

Student Liaison Jerijah McCray also announced he was leaving the board after this year to focus more on his studies.

McCray thanked the board for the experience.

“I know that whatever you’re going to do in life, it’s already in you and you will just continue to be amazing and continue to be inspiring,” LaCorte said to him. “I know you want to be a Warrior for life, and you truly are a Warrior for life. And for that, I thank you.”

“Jerijah, it’s amazing seeing a young person bring such elegance to this dynamic of adults that are sitting here and being a contender in the most positive way,” Shelton said. I know you’re going to be a huge success. I’m not sure what you want to become, but whatever that is, that profession is going to be dynamic just because you’re a part of it.”

“You have set a wonderful standard and we thank you so much for the focus you have brought to this position, teh enthusiasm,and I wish you all the best,” Shelton told McCray.

“If anybody wants to look at our school and know our students, you are the perfect example,” Steele said to McCray. “We just thank you so much for representing us, being respectful and showing what our Franklin students are all about.”

Seamon told McCray that he should “make the most of ” whatever college he chooses. “Every college has things to do, clubs to join. Indulge in different things in college, because that’s going to help you later on.”

“I want to say thank you to the entire board,” McCray said. “As a student, we forget that we just come to school and it all magically works and comes together. But it takes a staff, it takes the nursing staff, teachers and the board, it takes everyone.”

“When I was coming up, my grandmother used to say, it takes a village to raise a child, well, it really takes a village to raise a whole bunch of children,” he said. “I appreciate you all. I’m grateful for the experience. In my personal essay for college, I talk about receiving seeds and being able to take those same seeds and giving them back to the community that I’m a part of.”

McCray thanked the board for giving him the “seeds” that he was “then able to give to other people.”

 

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