Houston school officials praise Walmer during his last board meeting

jmink@macon.comFebruary 12, 2013 

PERRY -- It was the last time Chairman Tom Walmer would call a Houston County Board of Education meeting to order, and he handed the gavel to two small boys who just wanted to knock the tiny hammer.

His fellow board members would say that is just the type of person Walmer is.

“He has no personal agenda. He cares about nothing but bettering the school system,” former board member Toby Hill said during Tuesday’s school board meeting. “We’re all better people for having him in our lives.”

It was the last board meeting for Walmer, who resigned after being laid off from his job at Flint Appliance Center, which is closing. His resignation was in the best interest of his family, and he is not sure another employer would allow him the time to serve on the board, he said. Walmer just entered his fifth year as board chairman and has been a school board member for 11 years.

“I’m going to miss this much more than the school system is going to miss me,” he said.

Superintendent Robin Hines disagreed, saying Walmer will be deeply missed, and the school board has big shoes to fill.

“I’ve never been around a better leader than this one right here,” Hines said. “It’s definitely going to be our loss.”

During the meeting, Hines presented Walmer with a plaque that has a gavel mounted on it.

Now, board members are tasked with appointing someone to take Walmer’s spot. Marianne Melnick will become board chairwoman, and the new board member will represent Post 1: Centerville Elementary, Eagle Springs Elementary, Northside Elementary, Parkwood Elementary, Westside Elementary, Thomson Middle and Northside High schools.

The board is accepting résumés from interested residents of those areas. Résumés must be submitted to the superintendent’s office by Feb. 28.

On March 11, the candidates will address the board, and board members will make their decision on March 12. The new board member will serve until the July 2014 elections.

Stadium renovations

The board also approved a $2.9 million contract for renovations at McConnell-Talbert Stadium. The renovations include a visitor side press box, handicap seating and accessibility improvements, restroom improvements, a new track, new lights and repairs to the underground stormwater piping. The renovations, which are being paid through the education special purpose local option sales tax, are expected to be completed this summer.

To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 256-9751.

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