“There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.” —Denis Waitley

Service to a local board of education demands a degree of sacrifice and commitment of which few members of the general public are aware: there is a significant time commitment, late nights, copious committee meetings, possible scorn and derision from one’s neighbors, and the constant weight of responsibility. In spite of the challenges, a few intrepid souls endeavor to lead so as to inspire their communities.

Community involvement is a seminal component of the success of our educational institutions. Board members are community leaders whose impact is often difficult to quantify; they can initiate necessary change to the climate and culture of schools.

For the past four years, Mr. Paul Derin has been such an inspiration to his community, while serving as a board member and president of the High Point Regional High School district.

On January 6, 2015, Paul Derin made the difficult choice to decline his elected seat for the High Point Regional Board of Education, to which he was voted in November; his decision was due to health concerns about which his community is well aware and supportive.

Mr. Derin, the board president during the past two years, has been a community leader and advocate for more than a decade; his impact on the High Point family cannot be emphasized enough. His passion for our children, staff and community is clearly evident to all residents of the five sending district townships. Paul is a family man whose family extends to all who look to High Point as the center of our community. A visionary leader, Paul courageously confronted a district climate and culture which some had deemed “toxic.” Paul endured many battles in his efforts to see High Point championed as the best school in the state – a reality more likely after his tenure as board president.

As a retired district employee, Mr. Derin was acutely aware of the challenges confronting the district, and he boldly addressed the prevailing status quo. He accepted nothing but the best for the children of the community and worked tirelessly as their advocate. On the night he was elected president, three members of the board immediately tendered their resignations and walked out of the meeting. Mr. Derin quickly established compassionate leadership and brought a level of stability to the board and district which has subsequently contributed to greater student achievement.

Although, Mr. Derin has stepped down from his position on the board, he has not stepped down from his position as a community leader, friend and inspiration. Paul is a man of singular courage who seeks to right what he believes to be district and relational wrongs; while this makes him a controversial figure to his critics, it makes him a champion to others. And so it is with great respect that the High Point community accepts Mr. Derin’s decision to step down from his position on the board of education; his legacy as an intrepid leader of our community will long endure.