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11-20-13: School board pays tribute to Greg Heath
11-20-13: School board pays tribute to Greg Heath
Posted on 11/20/2013

The Puyallup School Board honored outgoing veteran Director Greg Heath with a tribute featuring a student choral performance, guest speakers, and a standing ovation during his final board meeting on November 18.


Heath, who has served on the board for 12 years, decided not to run for a fourth term in the November General Election.


The latest Pierce County election results show that Kathy Yang is ahead in the race for Heath’s board seat. The results will be certified on Tuesday, November 26.


The tribute and recognition opened with a performance by the Puyallup High School Norselanders under the direction of George Guenther.


Several guest speakers followed, including former Puyallup School Board member and current Washington state Sen. Bruce Dammeier, Puyallup Education Association President Karen McNamara, and fellow school board members.


Brian Fox, executive director of communications, information, and arts education, also recognized former school board member Lloyd Freudenstein, who attended the tribute in honor of his fellow colleague.


Each of the guest speakers recalled fond memories of Heath and cited examples of his leadership.Image


Dammeier recalled Heath’s involvement in past successful school levy and bond elections, in the district’s 150th Anniversary celebration, and in the decision to increase academic requirements for student participation in athletics and other extracurricular activities.


“We had a lot of good spirited debate, but always came together,” Dammeier said.


On behalf of people living in the 25th District, which Dammeier represents as a state senator, he said, “It is my distinct pleasure, on behalf of the good people of our community, to thank you for your service, to thank you for your leadership, and to acknowledge that we have tens of thousands of this community’s children who are off to a brighter future because of your service on this board.”


On a lighter note, Dammeier presented Heath with several toy gifts recognizing his time on the board, his career as an engineer, and his role as a grandfather. They included a plastic hammer (to represent a school board gavel), a set of building blocks, and a talking toy TV remote (for Monday night television programs Heath can watch now that he won’t be at board meetings).


McNamara also thanked Heath for his service and drew laughter when she presented him with a boxed puzzle, noting he has been “solving puzzles in the Puyallup School District for the past 12 years.”


She summed up his service on the board by adding, “It has truly been my honor to have worked with Greg, not just as a parent, not just as a community member, but as the president of the Puyallup Education Association … He has served tirelessly for children of the Puyallup School District and the staff.”


Board President Chris Ihrig and Directors Pat Donovan, Dane Looker, and Pat Jenkins also paid tribute to their fellow director for his many years on the board.


Ihrig referred to Heath as “one of the great leaders I have had the privilege of hanging out with.” He praised Heath for his commitment to the community and the district’s mission.


“That unwavering commitment to the mission has inspired me on a daily basis to be the best that I can be.”


Legislative Representative Pat Donovan added, “Thank you for all of your years. Thank you for your mentorship and all of the conversations that we have had. I have truly enjoyed them and look forward to many more.”


Director Dane Looker said, “Your leadership and your wisdom has been something I will miss tremendously.”


Director Pat Jenkins added, “What a fantastic asset you have been to our community, and what a great pleasure it has been serving with you. Thank you so much.”


On behalf of the district, Superintendent Tim Yeomans presented Heath with a plant, and Executive Assistant Francine Rouse presented his wife, Robbi, with flowers.


Fox also presented Heath with his color board portrait that had been framed and displayed at the district’s Education Service Center for the past 12 years, as well as an album of photos taken of Heath at a variety of school district events and activities.


Heath introduced his family in the audience, including his wife, mother, sisters, children, and grandchildren.


He discussed the long lineage of family members educated in Puyallup, including his father, he and his siblings, and his children.


After receiving a standing ovation, he thanked everyone for the tribute. “I can’t tell you how much it’s been such a blessing and an honor to be in this position. This is great work, and this is a great community.”


See photo slideshow from Greg Heath's November 18 board tribute.