To thank and honor the approximately 2,700 individuals who currently serve as board of education members throughout Oklahoma, January has been designated as School Board Recognition Month.
The goal of School Board Recognition Month is to help build community awareness and understanding about the important role of a board member. Their commitment to public service influences the lives of students, both present and future, the working environment of educators, and the quality of services provided by local schools.
Serving as a member of a local school board can be difficult, as board members are required to make tough, sometimes unpopular decisions. It can often be a thankless task, yet members voluntarily tackle the enormous job of governing school districts.
While some school board members have served a short time, many have dedicated years of their lives. The observance of School Board Recognition Month offers the public the opportunity to acknowledge and encourage school board members for their work on behalf of the county’s schools, students, and teachers. Marietta’s Board of Education members were honored at the regular meeting held on Monday, January 9,
Marietta’s Board of Education has Love County’s longest-tenured school board member in Frank Lornes, who was elected in 1988. For 34 years, Lornes – a graduate and lifelong resident of Marietta -- still serves the patrons in the district. For many years, he was president of the board, but now is serving as vice president.
“He was 11 years old when he became a school board member,” said Superintendent Brandi Naylor with a smile. “Thinking about his willingness to serve for so many years is something that’s hard to wrap my head around, but I am beyond thankful to have Frank Lornes on our school board. His steady guidance and unquestionable dedication to the school system have provided us with so much wisdom for so many years.”
Current board president Judy Sanchez-Fernandez, also a Marietta graduate, has served since 2018.
Marietta’s board clerk is Allen Woody, who has been a board member since 2012. Woody recently ran unopposed for his third term.
Serving as members are two more Marietta graduates: Jon Willis, elected in 2020, and Denice Halstied, who was elected in 2021. Although relatively new to the board, both Willis and Halstied have strong ties to the community and have expressed their desire to give back to the school district that has given them so much.
“Having a board that understands their extremely important role is vital to the success of a school,” said Naylor. “They establish the vision for the district and are instrumental in implementing that vision to allow the district to stay up-to-date and move forward into the future. Marietta Public School is blessed to have a dedicated representation of people on the board who want what is best for our students, as well as our staff, and works to make sure we have everything we need to succeed.”