Chris Desjardins Farewell

Chris Desjardins says Goodbye to Ware Public Schools
Chris Desjardins

On December 27, 2013, I filed a letter with Nancy Talbot, Ware town clerk, notifying her of my resignation from the Ware School Committee, effective tomorrow, January 9th, 2014.  This is my last meeting.

This decision has not been an easy one, but my current work schedule is vastly different from the one I had when I ran for re-election in 2012.  I used to work in-town, which meant I had time to get some things done at home and have dinner with my family before the school committee meetings.  Now, I work out of town, and on Wednesdays, I am in Wellesley, which means I hurry back to arrive in town just barely in time for the 6:30 meeting.  By the time I get home from the meeting, my youngest daughter is often in bed, which means I sometimes go 2 days without seeing her.  This is not acceptable to me, and I have decided leaving the school committee is my only solution.  In my 10 years as a committee member, I have simply missed too many of my children’s activities due to school committee responsibilities, and have decided I will no longer allow this.  We get only one chance to spend with our children while they grow up, and I am going to make sure I miss no more of it.

Being a member of any school committee is difficult.  It’s not glamorous or exciting.  While many people think of us as a group on a power trip, that is truly the furthest thing from our minds.  We are advocates for our children’s education, and we take that role very seriously.  We know the limitations of our authority and do not exceed those limits.  We are often criticized for not “doing more”, when, in reality, we are strictly limited by law as to what we have control over.  Although my time on the committee has made me some friends and some enemies, I have nothing but respect for those who have given countless hours at absolutely no pay for the good of the children and the town.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank certain people who I feel have gone above and beyond in their duties.  This is not an all inclusive list – just those who immediately came to mind when I think about excellence in Ware education.

I would like to thank Dr. Beach for her very large role in turning this district around.  While people in the town may have noticed the change, the school committee noticed both the change and the hard work that was required to bring about that change.  As I mentioned when she submitted her resignation letter a few months ago, the children of Ware will forever be in her debt.

Chris Dymon, Bill Alderman and the maintenance department are the unsung heroes of this district.  While not many people brag about the maintenance department and often take them for granted, they have nothing but the utmost respect from me, and I use them as the benchmark when I discuss this function to other districts.  In 2014, districts have to sell themselves to parents and students – otherwise, they will choice out to another district.  Part of this selling of the district includes a clean and well maintained campus.  The maintenance team has done an exceptional job in this area.

The building secretaries are the heart of the schools.  They somehow know the names of every student in the building - amazing!  They must be exhausted at the end of their work day, yet somehow finish the day in the same way they started it - with a smile.  I have seen them working, and the multitasking that goes on in the office is truly amazing.

Mike Brown and (now retired) Fran Mitus have done amazing things with the technology in the district, all on a ridiculously small budget.  They have taken what little money they have been given and made the absolute most of it.  Their paychecks never equal the actual time they have worked - they are here early in the morning and are often still here when we come at 6:30 for our meetings.  While this again may have been taken for granted, please know, gentlemen, that it has been noticed.

I have always said that the teachers in the Ware school district can stand up to teachers in any other district.  I firmly believe this to be true.  Our own children attend these schools, and knowing the importance my wife and I place on education, that alone serves as a testimonial to their excellence.  Being married to a teacher, I know that their work day does not end at the end of the school day - it continues at home correcting papers, working on their lesson plans, etc.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your dedication.

To my fellow school committee members, past and present, who have tirelessly served the children of Ware.  The impact you have made on these children’s lives may go un-noticed by many, but those who have served with you know the real truth of what you have done and what it took to get it done.

Lastly, and most importantly, I would like to thank my family.  My family has put up with late night committee meetings, early morning budget meetings, long phone calls, lengthy sessions of answering emails, getting stopped in Wal Mart to discuss an issue with someone – the list goes on and on.  I am not complaining about these things – they are all part of the job I signed up for.  I am just thankful for a family that never complained about this.  I take great comfort in knowing that they did not ask me to resign.  The decision is mine, and mine alone.  There will be no more missed events, no more nights of not tucking my youngest daughter in bed.  Just a husband and father, at home.  Where he belongs.

Thank you all for your support over the past 10 years.