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By KELLY CANTRALL
A long-time fixture on the Elizabethtown Independent Schools board will be gone after the New Year.
Dr. Bill Clagett served in his last board meeting this week. After 19 years, Clagett decided to step down from his position and chose not to seek re-election. He will be replaced by Teresa Riney Harris in January.
Clagett plans to retire from his dentistry practice in the near future, and decided to leave the board as well, to free himself for traveling he would like to do.
Superintendent Gary French said Clagett’s experience has been an asset to the board.
“He has been a very strong advocate for the children and teachers of our school district,” he said in an e-mail. “We truly appreciate his efforts and commitment to our school community.”
Clagett was appointed to the board in 1989 to serve the remainder of an unexpired term. Clagett graduated from Elizabethtown High School in 1964, and had children in the district. He was involved in the schools through them, including working with the band booster club.
“I just felt like I could help,” he said of being asked to serve.
Clagett continued to serve until 1997, when he decided to step down after having to expel several students from school. At the time, there was nowhere else for the students to go, and Clagett didn’t feel the decision was in the students’ best interest.
During his time off from the board, the legislature created alternative schools, where students could attend if they’ve had to leave a traditional school setting. With this change, when Clagett was again asked to consider an appointment to the board to fill another unexpired term, he agreed. He rejoined the board in 1999.
Clagett has left his mark in a variety of areas in the district. A reading initiative that’s been in the district for several years was first mentioned by Clagett, after he attended a meeting that discussed reading instruction. Reading is a primary skill, he said, and the other board members were interested in focusing on the subject. Students in the program are chosen if they don’t read at their grade level.
Clagett said he plans to maintain his involvement in the T.K. Stone Middle School Lego League. He works as an adviser to the group.
Clagett’s first degree was in engineering, so it’s an interest he comes by naturally.
“It just kind of brings out the kid in me,” he said.
Clagett’s 19 years on the board is a long tenure to serve. He said he didn’t consider how long he would serve when he first joined the board.
“I was 43 at the time, and 60s seemed a long way off,” he said. “Turns out it wasn’t all that long.”
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747.