Published DateMEREDITH — Jack Carty, veteran member of the Inter-Lakes School Board, will not run for a fourth consecutive term as a representative of Meredith. His term expires in March.
One of the seats representing Center Harbor is also up for re-election this year.
Mark Billings has registered to run for the seat being vacated by Carty. Sally Whalen, the incumbent board member from Center Harbor, has registered to run for re-election. Both seats are for three-year terms.
Other residents of Center Harbor or Meredith who wish to register their candidacy with the Inter-Lakes School District office have until the close of business on Friday to do so.
Carty traced his interest in education back to his 20-year service in the U.S. Navy. Education, he said, "was part of the fiber of the Navy. We were always training, always learning, because we were in the real world." He first served on the Inter-Lakes School Board in the mid-1980s as an appointee to fulfill a partial term. He won re-election to a full term, serving about four and a half years during that decade, all in the role of the at-large representative.
Carty's recent tenure, representing Meredith, began nine years ago. Yesterday, he said that serving three full terms was enough. "I've been at it for nine years now. If you do it right, it takes a tremendous amount of dedication and time. In my mind, if you're going to do it, you jump in and get all wet... It's time for other people to step up and do it."
Asked about the possibility of being succeeded by Billings, Carty said, "Mark is a very smart guy and he's very dedicated to his community." Carty also thought it would be beneficial for the district to have someone like Billings, who comes from a business career, as a balance to the retired educators on the board. "I think that somebody that comes from the community at large, from the business community, it brings a great deal of opportunity for the school system."
Looking back on his school board career, Carty said he was pleased to see Inter-Lakes graduates become recruited and accepted by prestigious post-graduate institutions. For those looking to transition from school to employment, Carty co-founded, with Sen. Jeannie Forrester, the Career Partnership Program. Another accomplishment he had a hand in was the construction of the state-of-the art athletic field at the high school. During his tenure, he enjoyed seeing Steve Kelley named the state's Principal of the Year, the Inter-Lakes Elementary School as the 2009 School of Excellence, and this year, teacher Deborah Dixon recognized as one of the best teachers in the state.
Beyond administrators, schools and teachers, though, Carty said, "The bottom line is kids. Are we getting there? Are we motivating and educating and challenging the kids? Because life is not going to be easy for them."
Looking forward, Carty expected his successor to have to wrestle with the perennial challenge of budget construction as well as increasing federal regulation, and to figure out what the right staffing levels are for a school district that has seen slow but steady declining enrollment. "We have to be very vigilant about employee bloat," he said.
He also hoped to see the school district become lighter on its feet. "The education system has to be more nimble in addressing how the world is — they tend to get locked into things and change comes slow." Late-breaking world events, such as the revolutions of the Arab Spring, he said, are shaping the world graduates will enter although the lessons may not yet be incorporated into curriculum. "The world is not going to sit and wait while we study traditional, older stuff."
Carty said he considered himself "lucky" to have had so many years on the Inter-Lakes School Board. "I consider it a privilege to serve the community," he said.