It can be said that, despite their serious charge, the board members who serve the William S. Hart High School District definitely have a sense of humor. On Wednesday night, they celebrated the contributions of two long-time board members as they stepped down from the dais.
Retiring board members Dennis King and Patricia Hanrion smiled and laughed a lot as they accepted some good-natured ribbing from colleagues and community leaders alike. (At right, West Ranch High Principal Bob Vincent, Pat Hanrion, Dennis King and Golden Valley High Principal Sal Frias)
King was teased about nodding off during board meetings and Hanrion for her poetry tributes created for those who left the district during her 16 year tenure.
She quickly responded to the comic jabs with a final creation: a colorful, literal romp through her nearly two decades of board service a'la Dr. Seuss.
King, who gave 20 years of service to the board, struck a serious note with his thanks.
"There are two things that make this country great," he said. "One is freedom and the other is public education."
After a parade of politicians and district officials brought up plaques and gifts for the retirees, board President Steve Sturgeon called the meeting to order and conducted one item of business before asking King and Hanrion to leave the horseshoe and allow for the swearing-in of newly elected board members Joe Messina and Bob Jensen and re-elected board member Paul Strickland.
When the board reassembled, Strickland was quickly chosen nominated by fellow board member Gloria Mercado-Fortine to lead this year's group, which was unanimously decided. Mercado-Fortine was nominated by the two new board members to serve as Clerk and Jensen was selected to serve as Assistant Clerk, with Sturgeon and Messina serving as board members at large.
Hart District Superintendent Jaime Castellanos administers the oath of office to (from left) Joe Messina, Bob Jensen and Paul Strickland at Wednesday's Hart Board meeting.