I answered my office phone with a cheerful voice because I believe it is important to start a conversation off on a positive note. The caller began speaking and I knew after just one syllable – just by the tone of her voice – that something was wrong. I also knew this was not just a school district issue.
She said “Ray, it’s Fran. I have bad news. Frank passed away. I know how much you respected him, so I wanted to let you know.” I could tell from our conversation that while she was board president, she was speaking not as a board member but as a grief-stricken friend.
After I hung up the phone I just walked around the office having a hard time concentrating on the project before me. Frank Calabria, a board member from Parsippany-Troy Hills, and I talked often at meetings and we always had one long conversation at NJSBA’s Annual Workshop. I realize that I too, was not just dealing with this as an NJSBA employee. For me, as it was for Fran, this was something personal.
I was once asked “What makes a good school board member?” Read the rest of this entry »