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Frances Meeks

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POSTED: May 25, 2008 5:00 a.m.

After more than half a century as a teacher, administrator and public official in the Bryan County school system, Frances Meeks is calling it a career. All of Bryan County should thank her for her service and wish her a long, fulfilling and happy retirement.

Meeks, who has served as vice chairman of the school board for the past eight years, was one of a handful of people who basically built the system from the ground up and transformed it into not only one of the state’s most respected, but also a catalyst for much of the growth now impacting Bryan County.

It takes a lot of qualities to stick with anything for 51 years, among them dedication and, in the case of education, an abiding love for both learning and children. Meeks has those qualities, and has remained a fierce advocate of this school system and those who run it. Indeed, she can be counted on to write letters to the editor whenever someone publicly attacks the school system by either signed letter or, more frequently these days, anonymous blogs at bryancountynews.net.

Ironically, it seems many of those who moved to Bryan County, and especially Richmond Hill, to take advantage of the quality of the schools she was so instrumental in building now rank among Meeks’ most frequent detractors.

That’s their right, of course.

What’s more, we won’t suggest that every decision Meeks made was necessarily the best option available. The school board’s earlier insistence on prohibiting out of state travel for student groups, for instance, was downright puzzling. Yet when Meeks recently reversed her stand on the issue and announced the BoE should allow out-of-state trips, she was criticized for playing politics. That claim - a bit unfair to start with, since it could have simply been the case that Meeks had a change of opinion - rings a bit hollow now that she’s getting out of the school board business.

Of course, school boards should never be about politics anyway, and Meeks wasn’t one to play games or pander to get votes. She said what she meant and didn’t worry about which way the winds of public opinion blew.

Ultimately, whether you agree with her positions as vice chairman or think she is part of an old guard that needs to go, the schools in Bryan County wouldn’t be what they are today without her.

Those currently serving on the school board, those who hope to serve on the board and all in the community who care about its schools owe her a debt of gratitude, whether they realize it or not.

 

Bryan County News

 

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