At the regular monthly meeting of the Board of Education held on Monday, March 1, Denice Halstied was sworn in as the district’s newest board member.
Halstied, a 1981 Marietta High School graduate, left her hometown after graduation to embark on a journey complete with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Business Management and a career spanning over three decades, most in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, before retiring in 2018 and returning to Marietta where she opened a business with her family.
For Halstied, who has built a life based on family, hard work, and volunteerism, serving on the school board is just one more way that she can help her community.
“My dad, Arnell Halstied, ran for the school board in 1971,” she said. “He didn’t win, but he always served his community in other ways. My family wants to continue to live out his legacy of not sitting back and complaining but getting involved.”
As a Marietta native and graduate, Halstied’s goal as a school board member is to ensure that current and future students have the same access to quality education that she had as a student.
“I want all of our students to have the opportunity to do what they want to do, whether that is becoming a farmer, an entrepreneur, or a professional,” remarked Halstied. “All students deserve the opportunity to find their niche, to know that any honest work is good, and be the best at whatever they choose to do.”
Halstied remembers her years in Marietta Public Schools as good ones, but also wishes to be in a position to encourage students to explore all their options after high school.
“High school was a great time for me, and I want all Marietta students to feel that way,” she explained, “but I also don’t want kids to believe that high school is the end, and I think some kids have that mindset. I want to encourage kids to go away for a while, whether it’s to school or work. I think it’s important to come back and live in Marietta, too, but if I’d never left, I wouldn’t appreciate what I have at home.”
As much as she wants to focus on student opportunities, Halstied also has a strong desire to support teachers. Her stepmother Evelyn spent several years teaching at Marietta, so Halstied realizes that a good teacher has a ripple effect that lasts for years after students leave the classroom.
“My stepmother has been out of classroom for years, but she’s still having an influence on her students,” said Halstied. “Not long ago, one wrote a book and dedicated it to her. The impact of a good teacher never ends.”
Halstied is ready to begin at Marietta and is looking forward to making an impact.
“I know there are a lot of things I have to learn,” she said, “but I’m willing to learn to help our teachers and students have the things they need and I’m willing to do whatever I can to make sure our kids have good experiences at school and get what they need to be successful.”