By Durward Narramore
Twenty-two-plus years ago I was appointed by the commissioner of education to fill a position on the Jenkins Independent Board of Education. At that time I never thought I would volunteer (it really is just that) my services for such a long time. And the time has flown by.
Coming in at the beginning of education reform, I was as green as anyone could be. That is when I got my first look at KSBA and its services. Without the training offered at that time, with all the changes brought about by education reform, I would still be overwhelmed by what was, and still is, expected from school board members. KSBA’s services to our small district have been invaluable.
My respect for the organization led me to want to be a part of it and after serving as a member of its board, I became president. It’s been a high point in my life when it comes to statewide service to kids. But my main focus has been my dedication to the children in my home district, which has had many ups and downs during my tenure.
Jenkins Independent has been a victim of the job losses in our part of Kentucky, and our students reflect those socioeconomics. I saw enrollment in our district fall from almost 900 to finally stabilize around 2010 at 515-520.
Even so, we have been able to provide a quality education (scores are just one part of the equation) to our kids. We committed to a dual-credit program with the University of Pikeville at no cost to students or parents, leading some of our kids to enter college as a sophomore, and similarly partnered with Wise County Vocational School in Virginia.
This is just some, but not all of what “we” have done. And KSBA has been there all the way.
So now, since the people have spoken, I will have to leave the service that I love and also leave the organization that I admire. KSBA bylaws do not allow me to complete my term as president. So, as of January, I will be leaving both.
I must thank the most important person in my life, my wife Debbie, who many of you have had the pleasure to meet; thanks also go to my children and their families. I am also grateful for my fellow board members over the years, and to the many different KSBA board members and staff that have become my other family.
I was asked if I would grieve when I left school board service. Truthfully, after 22-plus years it will be like losing a family member. But, all things must come to an end.
When I started my service as president I asked how we at KSBA were doing as an organization.
In my last column, I asked how you were doing as a school board member.
Finally, I ask how I did as your president. I hope you can answer that I did you proud.