A committed career educator

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a strong advocate of education. When I think about items I want included in my obituary, I hope some journalist includes the fact that I never voted against any school bond issue and always supported students and teachers in any way I could.

I think all of us living in Barry County can be thankful for educators who work long hours for pay beneath their worth. Some of the people I respect the most in this area are teachers, administrators and others who give unselfishly to kids of all ages. Over the years, I have honored several of these individuals, especially some who have touched the lives of my own two sons. This week I'd like to pay tribute to an administrator who I have had the pleasure of knowing for the last three years.

I first met Vicki Enyart, principal of Southwest High School, when she joined a committee I was chairing upon the recommendation of another of my favorite champions of kids, Dana Kammerlohr, Barry County DARE officer. This particular committee was put together to organize a drug education rally for Barry County. Vicki and Brad Hanson, Cassville High School principal, were named to the committee to help us reach out to students and get them to attend the rally, which eventually came to be known as The Way Out Rally. Both Vicki and Brad (another exceptional administrator and champion for kids) proved indispensable and immediately bought into the concept and worked hard to make sure their students and others attended this rally. We focused on getting out information about prescription drug and methamphetamine abuse, and I believe the rally was extremely successful.

What impressed me so much initially about Vicki was her unabashed love for students. She wasn't on the committee to put in "face time" or to fulfill administrative duties. She was there because she truly cared about the recreational life of her students and was willing to do whatever it took to get their attention about the dangers of drug abuse and possibly save lives.

Vicki is a woman of bold ideas, and her leadership and vision have guided Southwest High School to a new level of excellence over the past few years. You can't walk through the doors of Southwest High School without seeing and feeling this change. The school and its students seem to possess a new level of confidence, and overall, despite recent attempts to derail this improved vision, morale on campus seems upbeat and positive.

Maybe one of Vicki's greatest attributes is her commitment to a team approach that makes every teacher and student feel as if they are playing an important role in the school's success, which they are. Vicki does not draw attention to herself but instead gives credits to teachers, students and other administrators. Vicki leads by example and puts student education first in everything she does.

It is sad to know that Southwest is losing Vicki as high school principal. As I think I've said before, Southwest's loss is some other district's gain. I want to personally thank Vicki for her professionalism and her love for students. She is a committed career educator and I wish her well in future pursuits. Vicki, you have been a joy to work with and Southwest is a better school district for you having been there. Good luck and God bless. You will be greatly missed by me and countless others.