Brownstown recognizes outgoing school board member


After 16 years on the Brownstown Central Community School Corp. board of trustees, Mary Ann Spray’s service has come to an end.

She was one of five candidates who applied to be appointed to the seven-member board. The Brownstown Town Council has the responsibility of appointing someone to two seats, while the others are appointed by township boards.

During a special meeting June 7, the council selected Brian Wheeler to fill the seat, which expires June 30.

Spray was appointed to the board in 2003 and served as the athletic council representative through 2011. She was elected vice president in 2012, and following the death of President Jack Montgomery, she assumed the role of president in 2013.

“I’ve been truly blessed, and my time of service with the corporation was time well-spent, and I will miss it, but there are other things for me to pursue in a different direction I’m sure, and I’m looking forward to that to bring back some service again to the community,” Spray said while presiding over her final meeting Tuesday night.

“Brownstown is a great place to live, it’s a great place to work, it’s a great place to raise a family and most importantly, it’s the best place to send your kids to go to school,” she said.

Interim Superintendent Jade Peters presented her with a vase of flowers and a plaque on behalf of the corporation.

“I’m eternally grateful for all of this,” Spray said. “I certainly wasn’t expecting it, but again, I’m very blessed, and I truly do appreciate it. Thank you very much.”

Vice President Gina Hackman spoke on behalf of the board highlighting Spray’s years of service.

Over the years, she was an active member of the Indiana School Boards Association, serving on numerous committees and twice representing the organization in Washington, D.C.

She also annually attended the national school board conference in various locations across the country.

“Her willingness to represent us at this level and to freely give her time doing so was proof of her dedication of making our school system the very best that it could be,” Hackman said.

During her tenure as president, many improvements and updates were accomplished. That included programming at all three schools with a focus on college and career ready skills, from an advanced manufacturing class to alternative education opportunities to robotics clubs to On My Way Pre-K.

Security also was improved by reconfiguring the entryways to the school buildings, adding surveillance cameras and keyless entry doors and updating fire alarms.

With technology, all of the schools were updated with wireless internet connectivity, whiteboards and other devices to assist teachers with instruction were installed in classrooms and carts of devices were purchased for students to use. Plus, funds were appropriated for professional development for teachers so they could learn to integrate the new technology.

Facility improvements included new heating, ventilation and air conditioning units, new and safer doors and windows, classroom renovations and new athletic facilities.

“I would also like to add that our corporation has remained fiscally sound and that with all of these updates and improvements, we have not had to increase the tax rate for our constituents in the process,” Hackman said. “I also want to note that none of these things would have come to fruition without strong leadership and guidance.”

Hackman then closed with a final thank-you to Spray.

“I want to thank you for the countless hours that you have given us, for your sleepless nights because I know you’ve had a few of those and for the many prayers that I know that you have prayed for this school system over the past 26 years,” Hackman said.

“We want to thank you for your dedication that was unwavering to our students, our staff and our community,” she said. “Brownstown Central is truly a better school system because you’ve been a part of it, so I want to thank you so much for your service. My hope for you is that you take all of those hours back and you use those to spend with your beautiful grandkids and your family and enjoy your retirement.”

Other board members then offered their thoughts.

Clayton Beard said while he has only been on the board for a year, it has been a pleasure to serve with Spray.

Dan Hall told Spray she will be missed, and Scott Shade thanked her for always putting her heart into the position.

“You could tell you were doing it by your heart with the kids and that was your main focus, and that works out whether you’re here or not, and we appreciate that,” Shade said. “You have been an asset, and you will continue to be to this community.”

Mary Lou Burcham told Spray it has been an honor and a pleasure to serve with her, and she said she has learned a lot from Spray. Bradie Hall also thanked Spray for all of her service.

Spray thanked the corporation’s retirees and welcomed the new staff members approved during the meeting.

“I also want to thank central office staff here. They’ve been very kind to me for 16-plus years. I will truly miss that,” she said. “Again, it has been good, and I really, really appreciate all of your kind words.”

Then for the final time, Spray asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting. Hackman made the motion, Shade seconded and it was unanimously approved.