Saying goodbye

Departing Athens School Board members Karen Whyte, Gayle Burkett, and Joe Joyce are pictured as board President John Johnson thanks them for their time.

ATHENS — Tuesday’s meeting of the Athens School Board included a farewell to three members who chose to not seek re-election this year.

With a “thank you” and a gift, Karen Whyte was recognized for 20 years, Gayle Burkett for eight years, and Joe Joyce for a little more than a year.

Joyce was appointed in September 2018 to fill the unexpired term of Cathy Patton following an interview process that included six other applicants.

Whyte said it has been a privilege to represent Athens Borough on the board and a great honor to work on behalf of the district’s students.

“I’ve worked with a lot of fine people,” she said. “It’s been a great journey, a very educational journey.”

Whyte added that with two decades as a board member, she had served long enough.

“I feel that Mr. Stage is doing a really good job and the board is a really good board. We have new members coming on who are really good people, and the district is strong, but it’s always a work in progress,” said Whyte. “I have every confidence that they will do fine without me.”

Burkett plans to focus more on the family farm with her time on the board now behind her, but didn’t rule out a return in the future.

“It’s been very rewarding, these eight years,” said Burkett. “I’ll miss seeing the people, first of all, and being part of the school district. I’m very proud of what we’ve done over the last few years and I will miss being a part of that. I think public education is extremely important.”

“It goes by fast, doesn’t it?” said school board President John Johnson, before adding a “thank you” to the departing board members.

During last week’s election, Brendon Hitchcock and Lisa Braund were voted into new four-year terms on the board, while Kevin Rude was elected to a two-year term.

Incumbents Kathy Jo Minnick, Charles Frisbie, and John Cheresnowsky were each reelected.

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