After 36 years, last Thursday night marked the last board meeting for Beat 4 school board member Laura Norwood Davis, and after serving on the board since 2013, it marked the last meeting for Beat 3 member Daniel Vest.
Many came out in support of Davis’ last meeting and show support of her 36 years on the board. As Superintendent Billy Joe Ferguson put it, she’s the only woman who’s been able to tell him what to do. Davis’ focus has always been on the children, and she believes that her successor John L. Phillips, known to many as “Coach Phillips,” will remain on the same track.
Davis received a standing ovation as she was showered with praises. Davis has been on the board since 1982.
“Our schools probably looked a little different then,” Ferguson said. “We’ve been through some changes, and she’s been through the changes with us.”
He said Davis is the longest serving school board member in Carroll County.
“I don’t think we’ve had a board member that has served as long as she has,” Ferguson said, adding that Davis has served six terms as a member on the school board.
“Whatever you do on this board, do it with the children in mind,” Davis said.
She said she told members of her church, Helm Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, that she wanted to see them at her last meeting.
“I told them I gave them 36 years, they had better show up for my last meeting,” Davis said.
And her church family obliged and presented her with a token of love. Before the meeting, she was also presented with a gift from Assistant Business Administrator, MSIS Coordinator and 16th Section Land Manager MiMi Alldread.
And one last time, she passed out peppermints to several board members and former board member Ben Shute.
Vest hopes that his successor William Downs will continue to work for the children and keep their best interest in the forefront. In the Nov. 6 election, Vest was defeated by Downs. Downs served on the school board in the late 90s and early 2000s.
Vest said that he hopes that the Downs and Phillips are a great edition in the board, they keep the children in mind and he has confidence in them.
“I want to thank my supporters for believing in me and voting for me, and it’s been a great six years. I’ve learned a lot while on the board,” Vest said.
Ferguson also welcomed Downs and John L. Phillips, who were both in the audience, and those in attendance sang “Happy Birthday” to Board President Kenneth DeLoach who turned 81.
And in true Laura Davis fashion, she closed the meeting.
“I’m going to take over your job,” she told DeLoach. “Mr. President, if there’s nothing else that needs to be said. I call this meeting adjourned.”
And no one objected.