By Tia Lynn Ivey
As 2020 comes to a close, the Morgan County Board of Education (BOE) bids farewell to two long-time members.
Chairman Nelson Hale and BOE Member Keith Howard are retiring and attended their last BOE meeting as members on Monday, Dec. 14.
Superintendent Dr. Virgil Cole and the other board members took time to recognize Hale and Howard for their dedicated service to education in Morgan County.
“Both men have exemplified the best of servant leadership,” said Cole. “They have provided the support and guidance that has been instrumental in the success of our system. Our community owes them both a debt of gratitude on their positive impact on the lives of our children and students. In my opinion, there is not a better legacy than that.”
Hale, who served on the BOE for 16 years and occupies the District 2 Seat, is grateful for the opportunity he had to serve on behalf of Morgan County’s students and families.
“It has been an honor serving both the students and constituents of Morgan County. I feel privileged to have worked with so many professional educators who have such a heart for our kids,” said Hale. “We had an excellent school system when I came on to the Board and through the concerted efforts of many, our school system has continued to improve and our students have excelled in so many areas. I am confident in our leadership and excited for our children’s future. I would like to say a sincere “Thank You” to our teachers, administrators, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, support personnel, and coaches for the hard work and dedication they show each day to helping our children succeed and also to our community who are engaged and so supportive of our school system – One Morgan!”
Keith Howard, who occupied the District 3 Seat since 2009 and also works as Chief Deputy of the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office , believes education is vital to the health and safety of a community. He looks back fondly on the progress and achievements the Morgan County School System accomplished during his tenure.
“I was blessed to have served 12 years with four superintendents and 10 board members who put service above self as they created a One Morgan Culture,” said Howard. “Collectively, we created a career academy curriculum of rigorous coursework supported by a social emotional environment. During those 12 years, we achieved an historic graduation rate, won the most sports championships, awarded the most accolades for extra curricular activities, overhauled facilities, and enhanced the standard of living for the lowest wage earners all while being fiscally conservative during a recession and a pandemic.”
Howard’s replacement will be Brad Hawk, who previously praised Howard and his family for “their efforts in providing outstanding leadership to all families, students, teachers and staff of the Morgan County School system.”
Hale will be replaced by Joe Slaughter. The new board members will take the District 2 and District 3 seats this January.