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Barnes bids school board fond farewell

After serving on the Washington County Board of Education for eight years, Eric Barnes bid the board farewell as he took part in his final meeting last week.
Barnes, who is not running for re-election, called his time on the board a “great and rewarding experience in many ways,” noting several changes the system has undergone since he joined the board.
“Many progressive steps have been made by this system in the time that I’ve been here,” said Barnes, who mentioned the building of two new schools, the hiring of a new schools director and other achievements. “Things are moving in the right direction. I feel good about the future of the Washington County School System.”
School board member Mary Lo Silvers fought back tears as she addressed Barnes at the Aug. 3 meeting.
“You brought stability to our board,” Silvers said. “You saw things from a different perspective.”
Likewise, board member Keith Ervin spoke highly of his departing colleague.
“Me and you have not seen eye to eye on things, but I respect you,” Ervin told Barnes. “You have proven you really care about this school system.”
Director of Schools Ron Dykes commented on Barnes’ tenure, noting his “wisdom, humor, class and dignity.”
“You’re going to leave a void that is difficult to fill,” Dykes added. “I’m going to miss you.”
Barnes, who said he had other obligations that caused him to refrain from seeking another term, said he would miss being a part of the board, but he had high hopes for the group.
“I’m going to sincerely miss being a part of this board,” he said. “But new people and new ideas are healthy.”