Blankenship retires after 36 years on school board

Published 7:42 am Monday, October 5, 2020

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Tom Blankenship, long-time member and chairman of the Lincoln County Board of Education, recently announced his retirement, making him the longest-serving member of the board in its 112-year history.

Incredibly, after serving for 650 plus meetings, he ended his tenure with a perfect attendance record having never missed a single meeting. Blankenship, from the Preachersville section of Lincoln County, is a former classroom teacher and administrator.

In addition to his local service, Blankenship spent 12 years on the state school board and served as president of the Kentucky School Board Association (KSBA).

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“When Tom joined the KSBA Board of Directors, he brought with him a staunch belief in the power of school board service and a desire to make a difference,” said Kerri Schelling, executive director of the Kentucky School Boards Association. “I quickly came to learn that no matter what the circumstances, Tom would do what he thought was best for the greater good.  As KSBA president he left an indelible mark on the association’s history when he envisioned the First Degree Scholarship program that to date has helped 22 Kentucky students become the first in their immediate family to pursue a post-secondary degree.  As he begins a well-deserved retirement from local school board service he will be remembered as an outstanding school board member and an ever better friend.”

Regarding his board service, Blankenship said, “I’ve always tried to be the kind of board member that I would want to represent me – hard-working, committed, and with a sense of imagination, regarding facilities, policies, and the like.

“I will always be indebted to all those who exhibited confidence in my performance by their continued support down through the years. That has been very gratifying. I feel the district has a bright future with a strong leadership shown by the superintendent and his very capable support team.”

Lincoln County Schools Superintendent Michael Rowe issued a statement thanking Blankenship for his service.

“On behalf of the staff at the Student Support Center, I would like to thank Mr. Blankenship for his 36 years of service as school board member. We have all witnessed his passion for the students of Lincoln County. He will definitely be missed. This is a wonderful opportunity to have a new perspective on the board. I am hopeful that candidates have a sincere interest in public education and have a commitment to improving student learning,” Rowe said. “It is vital to understanding the importance of public education, and also how complex education is. Equally as important is to honor and respect the diversity of our community, as well as the diversity of learning styles, abilities, and overall human needs of our students and families. I hope that candidates are forward-thinking and bring creative solutions and approaches to the position and understand that it is a group decision of the board. Also, having respect for their colleagues and staff and listening to and considering opposing views before making decisions. Overall, I hope the candidates are strong advocates for the education of not only students in District 5 but for all children in Lincoln County.”