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RISD board thanks Gottlieb for leadership

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After tackling some end-of-year business at their meeting Tuesday night, members of the Roswell Independent School District school board had words of thanks for those leaving the district including the superintendent, retirees and graduates.

Board member James Edwards was the first to offer thanks to Superintendent Mike Gottlieb, who will leave what was supposed to be a temp job at the end of the month. Gottlieb was appointed as superintendent in January 2020 after the resignation of Dr. Ann McIlroy. In the weeks after the pandemic closed down schools, the board put off its search for a new superintendent and instead offered Gottlieb a one-year contract.

Gottlieb had previously served as superintendent for eight years, retiring in 2012 after a 31-year career with Roswell schools.

Edwards said he wanted to thank Gottlieb “for stepping up when others would have stepped away and holding the district together.”

“He’s kept us all in line. We’ve asked difficult questions … and you’ve always answered. And I thank you for that,” Edwards said.

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“I know its been a very difficult year for all us us, but you stuck it out. I appreciate your leadership,” board member Mona Kirk said.

Board President Hope Morales told Gottlieb she thought of herself as a “little pebble in your shoe,” and also thanked him for his guidance.

“There are not a lot of people who I really have a deep admiration and respect for, and now that I’ve learned more about education and politics and systems and all of this stuff, I truly have a lot of respect for you and all of your work and thank you for what you’ve started,” she said.

“I think you’ve helped us as a board to grow stronger ourselves and I think we’re ready for the challenge and we’re excited and you were a big part of that,” she said.

In his own comments, Gottlieb thanked the board for their support.

“I want to thank you for this last year and a half. It was a most difficult year, but I’m very impressed with the board. This is the most unique board I’ve ever worked with, and that’s a good thing. They had a lot of questions for me, so I just want to thank you all for that very much. I wish you all the best, I really do,” he said.

He also cautioned the board about giving recognition to individuals or groups, as it has begun doing in recent months. It’s easy to overlook someone’s hard work, he said, and that can cause hurt feelings.

“There’s just so many people to recognize in your school district. You’re so blessed and so fortunate to have such a wide range of staff, and it’s always been one of my worries that we leave somebody out that may be the biggest person in somebody’s life,” he said.

“We don’t want to leave anyone out that support our school. There’s a lot of them out there that do a wonderful job every day, never complain and they’re there with a smile on their face,” he said.

Board members also thanked those retiring from RISD. Nineteen certified staff and 11 non-certified staff are retiring from the district, Ralph Matta, director of human resources, reported.

“Whether they served in the classroom or behind the scenes, they made a big difference in the lives of our students, and I know our entire community will benefit from their dedication and their service, and I think the community will join us in wishing you the best as you enjoy your hard-earned retirement,” board member Hilda Sanchez said.

Morales said being able to hand diplomas to graduates last week was a highlight of the year.

“Seeing the pride in their face and their family’s faces and be able to be part of it for all four of our high schools, that was just a spectacular moment,” she said.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.