Three county school board members bid farewell | News, Sports, Jobs – SANIBEL-CAPTIVA

Three members of the Lee County School Board gave closing remarks at their last meeting on November 1.

Mary Fischer, who moved to Lee County in 1977, took her first job in the district in 1979.

“It was an honor and a privilege to serve three terms on the Lee County School Board,” said the Cape Coral resident.

She was first elected to the Board of Directors in November 2010.

During her time on the council, Fischer, who represents District 1, said she recognizes the county’s diverse community, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, awesome kids, wonderful workers and fellow council members.

“It was an adventure. It’s all been an adventure.” Fischer said.

As a board member, she worked to promote student growth and success, employee satisfaction by working with the board and her colleagues to practice effective school board governance, communication, and student advocacy. , while engaging the community. She has also worked on comprehensive health education and whole child care – social, emotional and academic success, for the past twelve years.

Fischer said his motto is to connect the school family with the community.

“As a staff member, I have enjoyed contributing to an environment that celebrates youth and creates lasting bonds between people. I worked at five elementary schools, one high school, student services and the crisis team, I worked for Bridges scholarship and it was just wonderful,” Fischer said.

She also alluded to the many changes and challenges, especially those of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane Ian. Fischer said he noticed the real heroes during these challenges, the people who go above and beyond to provide the best safe and quality educational environments.

“So now, leaving behind memories and facing opportunities for new experiences, I offer my gratitude. An affirmation of my commitment for continued support as we move forward working to heal and rebuild and in preparing the workforce of tomorrow and strengthening the economy of our community,” Fischer said. “Dedication, I really want to especially thank the people I have had the opportunity to work with. Their dedication to student service, honesty and commitment to excellence drives the community, building what makes our district unique. The other staff members inspired, mentored, and uplifted me and the students we served. They remain the primary reason I know Lee County Schools will work to fulfill the mission.

Fischer said it was his hope that he made a difference.

District 5 Board Member Gwynetta Gittens also delivered a farewell speech at the meeting.

Gittens was first elected to the board in November 2018.

“The lighthouse that’s sitting there, I put it there when I first raised my right hand and said I would obey all the laws and be a good member of the board. I said that as long as I am here the lighthouse will be there because it represents reminders that we are here to be a light. To be an inspiration. To be an example to others and all that we do and say, we have to remember that someone is watching and learning from the way we say it,” Gittens said.

She said she felt she had fulfilled the lighthouse’s purpose of being an example. Some of the accomplishments she cited are being financially responsible, babysitting children first, providing supervision, asking questions and offering solutions, supporting schools, teachers, staff and staff of the district, and spoke about issues and needs at times when other people would not. speak for.

Gittens also spoke about the African outfit she wore at her last action meeting, as she saw growing up with the board.

“In 2019, I sat in that very seat dressed in African attire. Everyone was so upset that I wore ‘a suit’. I wore African attire during Black History Month. Hats off. You got it this is not a costume. This is my heritage. When I talk about exposing people to experience other cultures, this is cultural awareness. Thank you for the growth. I am proud of my culture and proud that you recognize and accept the differences in the Lee County area,” Gittens said.

Among the issues she tackled while serving on the board was communication, as she wants the district to communicate in a more exclusive and simplistic way with all stakeholders. She also fought to create a whole new path that was inclusive, innovative and broad enough for all cultures and all dreams.

“We are a diverse community and people want you to see their diversity and understand,” Gittens said.

Through tears, she also thanked everyone who saw her, supported her, and the issues she found very important.

“Thank you for those who agreed with me and disagreed with me. I learned from you and you learned from me,” Gittens said.

The last board member, who did not stand for re-election, was Betsy Vaughn. She was first elected to the board in November 2018 and represented District 6, a universal seat.

Vaughn began her farewell by sharing that she started working for the district 16 years ago with an application that included 30 years of training. She thanked George Clover, former principal of Estero High School, for offering her a teaching position before leaving her office that day.

After eight years at Estero High, she retired at age 67 after spending 38 years in the profession.

“I was totally fulfilled as a person with my years in the classroom. Even though I was withdrawing from the classroom, I had more to give in education. Lee County, from what I could see, really needed it at the time,” Vaughn said.

A problem she had since 2015 – nearby schools – which she feels really good about now. Vaughn said the proposed neighborhood schools for K-12 would solve two of the problems: the time kids spend on the bus and the money it takes to put them there.

“It brings ownership of a nearby school, and there is a benefit for teachers,” she says.

Another topic she hammered home is more resources and a focus on advanced courses.

Vaughn also spoke about graduation rates, which appalled her upon joining the board, especially English language learners and students of color.

“I am so happy and so proud of this district which, year after year, raises all levels of graduation. The deepest difference is with the students I mentioned, “ she says.

Vaughn ended by stating how happy she was with Superintendent Dr. Christopher Bernier.

“He made very significant changes to the organization and the school district. He made progress, for example when Michael Ramirez was hired. I was so happy to see that we have a high-ranking Hispanic person as an administrator,” she says.

The other board members, along with board attorney Kathy Dupuy-Bruno and Bernier, thanked the three starters for their service.

Dupuy-Bruno said Vaughn always kept the board honest, challenged their thoughts, reminded the board of the diversity of the community, and contributed to discussions with a broad background.

“Ms. Gittens thanks you for your advocacy and representation of the underrepresented. You have never forgotten East Zone students and all students in the neighborhood by advocating for the needs and ensuring that the voice of parents and students are heard. You have exposed us to new thoughts and ideas and to the power of communication when used well,” she says.

Dupuy-Bruno also thanked Fischer, as she was his first president when she was hired as council counsel.

“We truly believe in this district’s ability to be a world-class school system and in ensuring that every student reaches their highest personal potential,” she says.

Bernier said Fischer was a strong advocate for all children, while Gittens was always available and gave history lessons. He said he also appreciated Vaughn’s honesty and lack of filter because it gave him a clear direction.

“You hired me and I’m happy to be here. You represent the core values ​​of this organization. All I can see in all of you is the commitment to excellence and that you have integrity, that you believe in so many other values, but at the very core of your belief is the belief in students », Bernier said.

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