Two school board members wrap up tenures
December 23, 2014
Moe Hickey, president of the Park City Board of Education, chuckled as he reminisced about the many issues he’d debated with Michael Boyle and Charles Cunningham during their tenures on the board.
There were plenty of disagreements, sure. But there was a never a sense that personal feelings were clouding a debate. For Boyle and Cunningham, it was all about finding what was best for Park City students, and that’s a trait Hickey will miss. Neither ran for reelection in November and both will officially leave office Jan. 1, with their replacements — J.J. Ehlers and Julie Eihausen — being sworn in at the Jan. 6 public meeting.
"They both had very good senses of humor, which is important," Hickey said. "And they both had a thick skin. I never felt like an issue with either of them — even when we were on opposite sides of an issue — was personal. The whole board could have a discussion with them, and I think that’s a testament to their character. Having that sense of humor and being able to engage in lively, intelligent debate without feeling like they’re attacking you is a great skill to have.
"They were great teammates. They certainly had their opinions on certain matters, but were very open to looking at other people’s opinions."
Boyle, who served on the board for about seven and a half years, said he feels fortunate to have been involved with the district so long. Coming from a family of educators, he had always understood the value of education. And he found that giving back to the community through public service was a high calling.
He said the board’s achievements he’s most proud of during his tenure include becoming the first district in the state to pass a non-discrimination policy regarding benefits for partners of gay employees, expanding the dual immersion programs within the district and instituting the one-to-one initiative that provides laptops for students from sixth to 12th grades.
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But through all of it was a lot of hard work that happened behind closed doors.
"That’s the part people don’t see," Boyle said. "They might think we just show up for a board meeting and sit there for an hour to three hours and then go home. Quite honestly, we’ve probably put in 10, 20, 30 hours of work before that meeting in educating ourselves on the issues."
Knowing he could count on Boyle and Cunningham — who was out of the country and unavailable for comment — to be prepared made them easy to work with, Hickey said.
"I can’t recall a time when we started a topic and I’d look at them and it crossed my mind that they hadn’t prepared for it," Hickey said. "And that’s really important in terms of having a functional board."
Above it all, the pair brought another important trait to the board, as well: intelligence. Both were able to lend insight on complicated issues whenever they’d crop up, which proved to be valuable for the board.
"They took full advantage of their skillsets that come with that intelligence on the board," Hickey said. "A lot of times when a legal issue would come up, we’d look at Charles. When we were looking at financial issues, we’d rely on Michael. It was a combination of the intelligence and the thoughtfulness that both of them had."
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