With this school board election, it brings to an end the era of a great leader for the GR district. For 17 of the last 19 years, Mike Bearden has served as a school board member. Served is the correct word as it leads directly into the word servant. Mike has been a servant of the district for 17 years. Servant in the fact that as with any school board member his time was all donated. Servant in the fact that he did it willingly and with great pride of and for the district. Servant in the fact that he did it for the future of the district's students and the two communities as a whole.
I put a few conservative numbers together to let you know how dedicated his service has been. If you use a conservative figure of 10 hours a month for school board issues, multiply that by 12 months a year, multiply that by 17 years of service, divide that by an 8 hour work day, Mike has spent 255 work days as a school board member. Mike donated an entire work year to the GR district.
Mike has been the leader of the leaders serving as President for several of those 17 years, and from experience, I know that far exceeds 10 hours per month. Mike was stellar in seeing projects through for the district. Rarely did Mike ever miss a meeting in those 17 years. (Bet you don't even need all the fingers on one hand to count those.) I believe Mike has worked with 4 different superintendents and 24 different board members.
Best of all for me though was getting to serve with Mike. And while I didn't always agree with him on every issue, he respected my opinion and I his. When I served as President, I called Mike several times for his opinion and he always had wisdom to help me out.
To the GR district: On September 19th, if you don't find yourself in gridlock, it would be a nice gesture to be at the school board meeting and thank Mike as he walks away from the table for the last time. But if you are there, "pardon me while I stand and applaud."