It wasn’t an ordinary school board meeting. There were words of praise. There were tears. There was cake.
It was a bittersweet night in Springs on Wednesday, as the community bid farewell to School Board President Kathee Burke Gonzalez and board member Teresa Schurr at their last Springs School Board meeting.
At the same meeting, two new faces sat among them—Jeff Miller and Adam Wilson, a pair of Springs School parents who were elected to fill the seats Ms. Gonzalez and Ms. Schurr stepped down from.
While Ms. Schurr and Ms. Gonzalez didn’t say much, fellow board members, parents and family stepped forward to honor their time at Springs School. Ms. Schurr has served for six years, and Ms. Gonzalez for nine.
Joe Gonzalez, Ms. Gonzalez’s husband, spoke passionately about his wife’s work in a speech that was punctuated with emotional pauses as his voice broke.
“This is a proud school and,” he paused, “I want to talk to— about Kathee real quick,” he said. “I’m really proud. We love you. We’re honored to have a footprint of our family in the proud history of Springs School. I can’t believe how quickly nine years have gone by.”
School Board Vice President John B. Grant also offered a few words of his own. “For me, it’s a really sad evening,” he said. “With all due respect to the new board members, you really have some big shoes to fill. Or pumps.”
School Board member Tim Frazier thanked Ms. Gonzalez for her leadership and “always being present.” He recognized Ms. Schurr for her “crystal clear honesty.”
“Saying it like it is, and always being in proactive mode for all children is who you are,” said Mr. Frazier. “Even though you are stepping down from this board, that will never change. That is a good thing, that you are an advocate for all children. That is never going to change.”
A standing ovation closed the comments, and slices of cake were enjoyed by all.
In other school news, the board approved a week-long camp program to take place at the school this summer, following a presentation on the program by parent Sema Mendelman.
The program, called Camp Invention, is a science and problem-solving driven instructional camp that would be taught by Springs School staff from August 12 through August 16.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for kids,” said Ms. Mendelman. “It is something that I think we’ll get off the ground because we have great staff willing to support it.”
The cost of the camp is $245 for the week. Camp Invention is in place in 1,500 schools across the country and serves about 83,000 kids, according to the program’s promotional video shown at the meeting.
The camp is open to incoming first-graders through to incoming sixth-graders. Incoming seventh- and eighth-graders can apply to be counselors in training at a rate of $120 a week, according to Ms. Mendelman.