Former members of the Oconee County Board of Education and retired Superintendent Dr. John Jackson Monday joined the current board in thanking Chairman David Weeks and Vice Chairman Mike Hunter for their years of service.
Weeks first took a seat on the board on Jan. 1, 2005, and Hunter has served since since Jan. 1, 2009. Terms for both will end on Dec. 31, 2012.
"Research on the characteristics of effective school boards point us to effective communication, focused action, long tenure and a climate of trust among stakeholders," remarked Superintendent Dr. Jason Branch. "These two board members certainly embody those characteristics and demonstrate them on a daily basis."
Weeks and Hunter collectively have participated in over 300 meetings, he said, amounting to more than 600 hours of service.
John Jackson applauded that dedication.
"Having worked with you, I know about the countless hours you spend away from your family making decisions on behalf of our students, and I know that each of you takes that responsibility seriously," said Jackson. "It has often been said, and I repeat it again, serving as a school board member is one of the most thankless jobs there is in government; however, I for one thank you for dedicating your time and service to our county."
Former board member Chris Franklin cautioned Weeks and Hunter that there will be a "transition period" as they exit, which comes with an upside and a downside.
They'll likely miss all of the interactions with schools and students, she said, but will be blessed to spend more time with their families.
"Enjoy your freed up time before you fill it with other community service," Franklin urged.
David Williams, another former board member, said Weeks and Hunter will be welcomed into the "ex-school board member club."
"We still get together. That's the great part of this service to the students in this community -- it's just a people business," said Williams. "And these personnel-type relationships will last a lifetime."
David Weeks said guidance from colleagues and predecessors has meant a lot to him over the years.
"The reason the school system is held in such high regard isn't because of anything that we've done, or that David [Williams] and Chris [Franklin] did," he said. "It's because of the great work that went on 10, 15, 20 years ago. The decisions that those board members made in working in conjunction with the administrators and the great teachers of our county."
To see the schools and individual students excel has been the most rewarding part of the job, according to Mike Hunter.
"It has truly been a pleasure and an honor to serve each and every one of you," Hunter said. "It's meant the world to me and I'll miss you."
Chairman-elect Tom Odom and board member-elect Mike Burnette, who were were in attendance, will begin their terms in January.