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MASA’s regional Hall of Fame Awards were presented at MASA Region meetings during March through June. The Hall of Fame Award acknowledges retired MASA superintendents for their career-long service and their continued passion for education and community throughout retirement. The dedication of these individuals to their former schools and communities serves as a model for all administrators, and their districts are left with the impact of their efforts far longer than the span of their careers.
The 2012 Hall of Fame Winners are as follows:
MASA is very grateful to these members who have taken MASA’s slogan “Your Success, Our Passion” and applied it to their career and to their lives. These individuals have influenced the lives of many children, colleagues, and friends, and their work and accomplishments will not be forgotten.
Thank you again to all Hall of Fame winners, and congratulations on all your achievements.
Tom C. Smith is being recognized for his outstanding leadership and dedication career-long and beyond.
"My Board hired Dr. Smith through MASB to do our labor relations, wrote nominator Kathy McDonough of Manistique Area Schools. “However, Tom has graciously allowed this 'Newbee' to run just about anything by him for his opinion, expertise, and guidance. He has never made me feel as though I was asking a 'stupid question' or said being a mentor wasn't a part of his contract with the district.”
Smith has offered workshops to assist administrators with understanding and implementing new changes in education law and policy, and continues to give back to students as a referee for high school football and basketball.
“Doug Fillmore has lived his entire life in the Meridian District and has left his mark on this area in many ways,” said current Meridian Superintendent Craig Carmoney, who nominated Fillmore for the award. “There are not many superintendents who have the opportunity to finish their career in the same school system that they started in as a student.”
Fillmore became Meridian’s superintendent in the summer of 2007, a time that would later become known to be a financial low point for the district. His leadership through the next few years was marked by a vision that paved the way to many difficult decisions that would ultimately rebuild the district’s fund balance while keeping cuts as far away from kids as possible.
Fillmore is known as a confident and transparent leader--one who was not afraid to make decisions, yet who valued communication and input from others.
“Doug truly had an open-door policy for all district stakeholders,” Carmoney said. Doug would often be found visiting classrooms and talking with staff in the halls. Maybe most admirable, whatever Doug stated behind closed doors matched what he would discuss with district stakeholders.”
In retirement, Fillmore continues to be a leader in the district, where he serves as chair of the Facilities Committee for the District. The fall launch of the New Tech initiative was envisioned by Fillmore prior to his retirement. He also continue to support student athletes at Meridian.
“As a new superintendent, I personally am grateful to have a wonderful mentor only a phone call away,” Carmoney said. “Doug has been and continues to mentor superintendents in this area and is widely recognized and respected by peers for his thoughts and contributions to education in this region. I can think of no one more deserving of this recognition into the MASA Hall of Fame.”
William Mayes is being recognized for his outstanding leadership and dedication career-long and beyond. Mayes’ passion for learning began in high school and has lasted more than 40 years. Since retiring in 2005 to become MASA’s Executive Director, Mayes has served more than 1,000 MASA members per year—most of whom are Michigan’s public school superintendents and their first line assistants. Mayes leads a staff of professionals who provide advice and support in areas critical to top school administrators in their crucial work of making sure students succeed.
Mayes’ influence is felt across the state and the nation. He has served as the president of the Education Alliance of Michigan and currently sits on the “Focus on Public Education as the Cornerstone of Democracy” Advisory Committee for the American Association of School Administrators (AASA). Mayes is the current President of the Association of State Association Executives (ASAE), and in 2007 he was appointed by Governor Jennifer M. Granholm to represent education on Michigan’s Fire Safety Board.
“William Mayes advocates every day for Michigan’s schools and their leaders,” said Region 5 President, Mark Kleinhans, superintendent of Montrose Community Schools. “I can’t think of a more appropriate person for Region 5 to induct into the MASA Hall of Fame.”
Robert M. Olsen has served his county as president of their superintendent’s association and was a key player in starting our county-wide technology consortium. He served as Region 7 legislative representative and is a life-long voice supporting public school issues.
Olsen was selected as Region 7 Superintendent of the Year and Michigan Superintendent of the Year, and was a finalist for the AASA National Superintendent of the Year award. He has served the Michigan High School Athletic Association, on the Michigan Department of Education Teacher Examination Advisory Committee and the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges Accreditation teams. Olsen is active in his community, providing service to the boards of directors for the St. Joseph County Economic Development Corporation, the Sturgis Chamber of Commerce and the Sturgis Education Endowment Foundation. He was a member and past-president of the Sturgis Rotary International, and former president of the Mason Optimist Club.
“Rob is too highly thought of to just relax and enjoy the fruits of retirement.” wrote Region President Lloyd Kirby, Superintendent of Colon Community Schools in his nomination letter. “He was selected first, as a sales representative for a Kalamazoo firm, Level Data. Then, in time of need, he accepted a call to duty with Portage Public Schools as their part time Assistant Superintendent for Business.”
Rob is a dedicated life-long learner--so much so that late into his career he enrolled in a multi-year training program through MASA called “Courageous Journey.” Rob has numerous publications and is currently an adjunct professor for Concordia College in Educational Leadership classes and as a guest lecturer for Western Michigan University’s Masters Program in Educational Leadership.
“A strong, resonating voice will be missed if he finally actually retires,” wrote Kirby. “He has devoted 40 years to public education, with the last 20 years in administrative positions in Michigan, and is still sought after for counsel and advice by many of his fellow superintendents.”
Dennis McComb is being recognized for his outstanding leadership and dedication career-long and beyond. McComb was the leader of Milan Area Schools for 12 years. During his time in the district he implemented numerous systemic changes that helped make Milan Area Schools the district that it is today.
“For 12 years, Dennis was my boss, my friend, and most importantly, my mentor,” said current Milan superintendent Bryan Girbath, who nominated McComb for the award. “As my position in the district transitioned from teacher to assistant principal, to principal, to assistant superintendent, and superintendent (after his retirement), Dennis was always there to provide guidance to a young developing leader.”
McComb’s influence extended beyond Milan. He was an active participant in the Michigan Association of School Administrators, serving as the organization’s president in 2002-2003. He also has served on the SET SEG Workman's Compensation Board. His influence continues as he currently consults with school districts on ways to reduce energy consumption and related costs. He is still tapped by current school leaders for advice and for the wealth of knowledge he has accumulated over his 30-plus years as an educator.
“Even though Dennis has been retired for almost four years, I still contact him from time to time to share my thoughts and seek his advice on difficult educational topics,” Girbath said. “He cheerfully answers the phone and is always ready to provide opinions, give guidance, or just listen (if that is what I need). While I do not call Dennis "boss" anymore, I will always call him "friend" and will continue to respect him as a mentor.”
“Throughout her long and outstanding career in public education, Joan dedicated and focused her time and energy to advancing and improving academic achievement for students,” wrote Wigent and Markavitch. “She experienced great success in all of her administrative positions and was considered an honest, trustworthy and focused educational leader.”
After her retirement, Sergent continued in her passionate pursuit of the educational well-being of Michigan’s children in her position as Executive Director of the Tri-County Alliance for Public Education. Joan definitely provided the strong and quality leadership necessary to ensure that the voice of over 700,000 students in the tri-county area was represented at all levels. In fact, in all of the positions that she has held throughout her career, Sergent has always served as a strong voice for adequate, stable and equitable funding for public education. She clearly believes and leads with the vision that appropriate funding is absolutely necessary for the educational preparation of our next generation.
Sergent has also always worked in collaboration with both education and non-education partners and agencies to ensure that public advocacy had credibility, accuracy and truly represented the best interest of all children. Even after her retirement, she continues her work with boards of education and superintendent mentoring; coaching and guiding where needed and always with the focus on what is truly best for kids. Joan’s abilities and integrity has been and continues to be unquestioned.