Thursday, November 1, 2007
School district honors Thomas
By SUE WATSON
The Holly Springs School District Board of Trustees and some former trustees heaped praise upon outgoing board member Martha Thomas at a reception last week.
Thomas served nearly seven years on the board and is remembered for her high energy, undaunted optimism and cool head, according to board president Ray Von Autry.
“She voted her heart and her conscience and set an example for board members,” he said. “The volume of hours she gave cannot be repaid.”
Autry said Thomas set a high bar on school district issues and attention to detail.
School board vice president Paul Lampley agreed.
“Ditto, to what Ray Von has said. It is a pleasure working with you and with my being a new board member, you have set the stage for me,” Lampley said. “You’ve made decisions for the betterment of the students in Holly Springs.”
School board attorney Tom Freeland, in a written letter to be read aloud, said, “The school board is one of the truest ways you can serve the community.”
Freeland was unable to attend.
Former school board trustee Knowledge Gipson shared personal notes.
“I miss serving on the board, but when I was on the board I grew tired of it. I miss it now,” he said. Gipson served 14 years as trustee.
Former trustee Artis Walton said Thomas could always smile when the heat was on as well as during smooth sailing.
“The district will also miss her,” he said.
Walton added his on belief that more members of the business community should serve as trustees.
“She will also miss being off the board, as I have,” Walton said. “We appreciate you and enjoyed working with you.”
Walton served 10 years on the school board.
Holly Springs mayor Andre’ DeBerry agreed with Walton that the board needed more members from the business community - not just educators.
“It’s important to have all types of backgrounds,” he said. “Thank you for serving and the time you’ve given to the system.”
Superintendent Irene Walton thanked Thomas for her “undivided commitment” and ability to be business minded.
“On a personal note, when I took this job there was a lot of turbulence,” she said. “Thank you for your kindness, your spirit, and for hanging in there with us. I hope you will always speak your heart and your mind.”
Thomas was appointed to the board of trustees by the late mayor Eddie Lee Smith when the board had only four members.
“I’m not sure why I wanted to be on the board, but my dad was an educator,” she said. “Also, I had a hard time with that two letter word, no.”
Thomas said she asked to be relieved of duties because she will be travelling more now that she is retired after 28 years with FedEx and her husband, Jimmy, is also retired.
“Now we have an opportunity to do the stuff we always wanted to do, and in fairness to the children, I should not be a board member who cannot give their all,” she said.
Thomas said she intends to continue to support the school district as she always has by being involved in activities at the schools.
“The fact that I resigned from the board does not mean I have resigned from the school system,” she said. “I still have contact with students already graduated. I do not want to lose touch with the school.”
The school district presented Thomas with a plaque of appreciation and a clock before serving snacks and cake.
Others present at the reception were administrative secretary Sarah Ivory, Eileen Dowsing, assistant superintendent, Beverly Thompson, business manager, and former trustee Gwen Gipson.
Trustee Alonzo McClinton, who has stepped down, trustee Micheal Crittle, and former trustee Gemma Beckley were unable to attend the reception.
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