The Whitley County Board of Education is losing one of its longest serving and most recognized board members.
At the close of a special called board meeting late Thursday afternoon, long time board member Delmar Mahan announced that he would be resigning from the board.
“This is difficult. It really is. This is my 27th year almost on the board. I have had the privilege to know a lot of people along the way,” Mahan said.
“Due to health and personal reasons, I gave Mr. (Scott) Paul my letter of resignation a while ago. It will be effective Nov. 8 of this year. I just want to say that it has been an honor and privilege to have served Whitley County all these years. Like John Wayne says, ‘You know when it is time, you have to ride into the west.’ You have to get on the horse and ride, and it is time for me.”
Mahan thanked many of those in attendance at Thursday’s meeting for their help and support through the years, in addition to the teachers, principals and staff at all the schools.
“This is my last official meeting of the Whitley County school board. I am going home,” he added.
Mahan asked Board Chairman Larry Lambdin for permission to make the motion to end Thursday’s meeting, which is something the board chairman normally does and something Mahan did for 19 years as chairman of the school board.
Mahan made the motion to adjourn the meeting, and Lambdin seconded it followed by a round of applause by those in attendance.
An emotional Mahan then left the meeting without speaking to anyone.
“I guess we are adjourned,” Lambdin said choking back tears.
Afterwards, Lambdin noted that Mahan was probably the best board member in the state.
“He knows more board policy and board procedure. He is second to none. You can tell by the positions that he held. I was always proud to serve with Delmar,” Lambdin added.
“The Board is very thankful for Delmar’s years of service and leadership. I know that even when he is no longer a Board member, he will still be a champion for the students of Whitley County and for our efforts to provide them with a first-class educational experience.”
Over the course of his tenure, Mahan has demonstrated his commitment to education by serving in several capacities on various boards. He has served as Third Region Kentucky School Board Association (KSBA) Regional Chairperson (2002-2004); KSBA Director-at-Large (2005-2007); KSBA President-Elect (2007-2009); KSBA 41st President (2009-2011); KSBA Immediate Past President (2011-2013); and NSBA Delegate. In 2014, Mahan received the Warren Proudfoot Award for Board Member of the Year.
“Delmar is leaving the District having made significant contributions to our school system. He has been an ardent advocate for our students and our community. He has been a part of the Whitley County School District family for so many years and his presence will be sorely missed. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from him,” said Superintendent Scott Paul.
Over the past 27 years, Mahan has often spoken in public forums about the importance of providing quality educational opportunities for students and has been an advocate for Early Childhood Education. He has also been a strong supporter of increased use of technology in classrooms and has helped plan several new schools and improved facilities throughout the system.
Mahan also introduced the idea of board members donating their monthly stipend to a scholarship fund for WCHS Seniors. Thus far, over $45,000 has been awarded through the scholarship program. Mahan, himself, is a graduate of Whitley County High School as are his three children, Josh, John and Joanna.
“Delmar has been my buddy for a long time. Time goes on. He will be missed,” added board member J.E. Jones, the only current board member to have served longer on the board than Mahan.
Jones is also the longest serving board member in Whitley County history.
Tim Crawford, the board’s attorney, said that the commissioner of education has 90 days after Mahan’s resignation takes effect to appoint a replacement.
The commissioner will appoint a committee to solicit applications for the position. The committee will then interview all applicants and make a recommendation to the commissioner on who to appoint.
Whoever Mahan’s replacement is will serve until the results of next year’s school board election are certified.
Mahan had about one year remaining on his term as a school board member, which will expire on Jan. 1, 2019.