NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

December 23, 2013

Kezer, Hanshaw feted at final school board meeting

By Jim Sullivan
Correspondent

---- — AMESBURY — Thursday night marked the last School Committee meeting for Amesbury Mayor Thatcher Kezer and School Committee member Gale Hanshaw, and the district showed its appreciation before the annual Holiday Concert at the high school.

“It has been an amazing experience to work with both of them,” Superintendent Michele Robinson said of Kezer and Hanshaw. “They are certainly committed to the kids of Amesbury and to the work that we do in the school system. They are really remarkable people. So, they will be dearly missed and I wish them the very best.”

Both Kezer and Hanshaw were presented with personalized Amesbury chairs before the concert, and School committee member Deb LaValley presented both with letters from the House of Representatives signed by Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo and state Rep. Mike Costello, D-Newburyport.

“This was a total surprise,” said Kezer. “It’s nice. I do this work because I am committed to the public good and being recognized is always very much appreciated, but what really drives me is creating positive results for our community and that’s what’s really important.”

Before leaving, Hanshaw presented the School Committee with a gift, a bag of Life Savers that was received with much laughter.

“I definitely have some mixed emotions,” admitted Hanshaw, who chaired the policy subcommittee for the last six years. “I am certainly going to miss the people. I have really enjoyed it. Budget season has been probably the most challenging thing over the eight years. It hasn’t been a very easy time, moneywise. But we have a great group here. Not just the School Committee but the school administrators and it’s been really enjoyable.”

The committee held an abbreviated meeting beforehand and a grant for a school resource officer, one of only two presented in the state, was accepted unanimously. The CREST Collaborative Agreement was accepted unanimously as well, as was the acceptance of a donation to the Windrush Farms Programs, a therapeutic riding program.

“It was a very quick School Committee meeting,” Kezer said of the meeting that had to be rescheduled from Tuesday night because of weather. “But usually there is a lot of great, in-depth conversation about the big policy issues that cities grapple with. I have always enjoyed those meetings and have been impressed with the commitments of those on the School Committee and all the hard work that they put into it and the tough, tough challenges that they have to face.”