By Thomas L. Armstrong, CFO, MSBO Board President, Director of Business & Operations, Fulton Schools
As President of MSBO, I would have had the opportunity to participate in some awesome things at this year’s Conference. I would have gaveled the meeting open at the Wednesday morning session. Then I would have introduced State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice to address our members. At lunch, I would have introduced the many deserving winners of our MSBO awards. I also would have introduced our keynote speaker, Arthur Athens, a retired United States Marine Corps Colonel. I have heard him speak before and he is very good.
I am sure that Dr. Rice will address our group in the future. I also know that we are working on ways to appropriately recognize our award winners. Who knows, maybe a future president will choose the same keynote speaker. But, there are at least three things that I would have gotten to do that cannot be recreated in any meaningful way.
At our Wednesday lunch, I would have had the great honor to recognize Mike Haggerty, our outgoing Past President. I have learned so much from Mike serving with him on the MSBO Board. I have never known a more strategic thinker. He brought that mind set to the Board. His focus on acting in a strategic manner made the Board better. He was always prepared. He read the board packets and looked at any documentation that may impact the decisions to be made. When Mike speaks at a Board meeting, if you don’t listen it is at your own peril. Following Mike as President was truly scary for me. He was so good at it and I was afraid that I wouldn’t measure up. In that regard, he has been a great mentor. I have talked to him about issues facing me as President and received honest and wise counsel.
At the closing session on Thursday, I would have had the honor of handing over the gavel to our new Board President Bill Chatfield. I didn’t know Bill when we were elected to the Board in the same election. Since then, I have found him to be smart and articulate. Bill adds a different perspective to the Board. He is Director of Operations for Walled Lake Consolidated Schools and is the only non-finance manager on the Board. He consistently keeps the expectations and needs of our membership front and center. I am so gratified that he will lead MSBO for the next year.
Lastly, at some point during the conference, I would have had the distinct opportunity to thank the MSBO staff for everything that they do for the organization. So much work and planning goes into, not just the annual conference, but our other major conferences, certification classes, e-blasts, newsletters, and website. I could go on and on. In reality, for the staff, it would have been less work if we had held the 2020 Conference. Everything was ready to go as usual. When we cancelled the conference, it caused tremendous work for the staff. Work that is still going on today. They are the true heroes of MSBO and they make the rest of us look really good.
So, am I disappointed that we had to cancel the Conference? Of course, I am. But that disappointment stems from not being able to publicly and appropriately thank and honor the folks mentioned above.
If you see Mike, or Bill or any MSBO staff member when we can be together again, please thank them or recognize them in some way as if you were at the Conference. Maybe a round of applause is in order.