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Last week's Marion County Board of Education meeting marked the final meeting for Board Chairwoman Sister Kay Carlew and Board Members Alex Ackermann and Brad Mattingly. In January, Ed Hacker, Michael Mullins and Mike Cecil, who won the election in November, will be taking their places on the board.
Chairwoman Carlew has served on the board for 16 years, and during last week's meeting, Marion County Judge/Executive John G. Mattingly read a proclamation and resolution in honor of Carlew.
"We the leadership of Lebanon and Marion County, do publicly state that the contributions of Sr. Kay Carlew have left an indelible mark, a permanent and lasting impression on Marion County Public Schools," Mattingly read the proclamation during the meeting. "We wish to state our enormous gratitude for her diligent, dedicated years of service to all the students and citizens of Marion County. We wish her much success in any and all of her future endeavors."
Marion County Superintendent Donald Smith said he would be forever endeared to Carlew.
"When I got this job it was amazing the folk that would say to me throughout the state, 'I don't know if you know this, but you have one of the best board members this state has ever seen,'" he said. "That is awesome."
According to Smith, Carlew will be missed.
"The thing that is going to suffer the most are the kids of Marion County," he said. "I think that they have lost someone special who really, diligently looked at everything before she made a decision. The board members coming on have some tough shoes to fill."
Carlew said she has enjoyed working on such a strong, focused team.
"To the superintendent and the leadership team, you've been our leaders," Carlew said. "You've given us direction. You have worked tirelessly for the kids of Marion County and I'm afraid the public doesn't know how hard each of you works."
Superintendent Smith also recognized the two other board members, Mattingly and Ackermann, for their efforts.
"I'm sad that I'm not going to be able to serve out the rest of my contract with him," Smith said about Mattingly. "He come in and had some great ideas and was doing what was right for the kids in Marion County."
Smith said he hoped Mattingly would consider running for school board again in the future.
Mattingly thanked Smith, the faculty and staff at central office, the principals and the teachers for welcoming him with open arms.
"I was joking with Bernard (Miles) about whether or not I hold the record for the shortest serving school board member," Mattingly said, laughing. "I may be put in the record books for that."
And while Mattingly has only been on the board since April, the experience has been worthwhile for him, he said.
"I'm better off for having had this experience," he said.
Superintendent Smith thanked Ackermann for her dedication and initiative to ask the "tough questions."
"I consider her to be friend now," he said. "She's a jewel."
Ackermann said her time on the school board has been a pleasure.
"You've been champions for children," she said. "You've put up with me... and you've always done it with a smile on your face and with grace and dignity."
The two remaining board members, Bernard Miles and DeLane Pinkston, also thanked the three outgoing board members for their work.
"I'm saddened in a way because they are like family," Miles said.
"You have done a lot of great things for Marion County schools," he said.