Monday, February 29, 2016

50th Anniversary Year of Benton Community Schools

2015-16 marks the 50th anniversary of the Benton Community School District. Benton Community School District became effective on July 1, 1964.  During that first school year, each of the former districts operated as separate K-12 attendance centers. During the 64-65 school year, the Board approved the centralization of grades 10-12 and the first joint graduating class was in 1966.  During our 50 years in existence, there have been some great people connected to our system.

In my next few blog posts, I'm going to highlight a few of my Benton Heros.  
Tim Sanderson 
(photo compliments of the Iowa High School Track website)

I've know Tim Sanderson a long time.  Over 40 years.  He was the elementary principal at Keystone Elementary when I was a student at Blairstown Elementary.  Being in such a geographically large district, we were able to have friends all across the lower half of Benton County, so even though Tim was never my building principal as a student, I knew him and saw him in our school quite often.

I also had great friends at Keystone Elementary and went to some "slumber parties" in Keystone.  I distinctly remember a few times where Mr. Sanderson encouraged us to leave the school grounds with our skateboards in the wee hours of the morning during some of these sleep overs:)

Fast forward to the early 90's and Tim pulling into our driveway.  I happened to be playing outside with our three kids on a lovely day.  
He stopped by to say to me, "Come and be my school counselor."  Long story short, I did.  

Tim supported me through the hoops and over the hurdles of becoming a school counselor in the state of Iowa and believe me there were many!  I worked with him for three years until a full-time position in school counseling became available in our MS/HS building.  Tim always challenged and supported me to develop programs that met the needs of the students and staff within his building and our district.  As I moved into an administrative position within the district, Tim continued to challenge our team with his passion and sense of doing what was right.

Tim's impact in education has gone way beyond the building and district level.  Tim was recently inducted into the Iowa Association of Track Coaches Hall of Fame.  One of my favorite track memories with Tim came when our oldest daughter, Katie, was a freshman in high school and he was the starter for the meet.    As one of her relay races was in progress she was being "social" talking to some friends.  Tim calmly walked over to her when the 3rd leg hit the 200 mark and asked her, "Katie, aren't you anchoring this race?"  She looked at him and stripped off her sweats, found her place on the track and finished the race, all with a smile on her face.  

That's one of the things Tim does best, he makes sure people are in the right place at the right time.  I often wonder what might of happened in my professional life had Tim not pulled into our driveway on that day.  I know that I am better because he chose to reach out to me and trusted me enough to guide me in my path of education -- both as a student and a co-worker.

When I contacted Tim to let him know that I was writing about him, he responded, "I have nothing but great memories of good old Benton.  I always look forward to going to work there.  The students, parents and staff were always very supportive of me.  Take care and I will see you at the track meets."

Thanks Tim.  Your influence on my life has been tremendous and I appreciate your investment in me and more importantly, our school district.

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