EPS board honors Hyde at his final meeting

EVART — Members of the Evart Public Schools Board of Education paid tribute to superintendent Howard Hyde on Dec. 14 during the last board meeting before he retires.

Hyde officially announced his plan to retire earlier this year after 34 years in education and 27 of those years at EPS.

“I’m ready to be done and relax a bit,” Hyde said in April. “Years ago I would ask how people knew they were ready to retire and they told me I would just know. They were right, because I know I’m ready.”

Hyde began as a teacher in the Hartford School District, then came to EPS in 1988 as an assistant principal and athletic director. In 1998, he was hired as the district's superintendent.

Hyde taking the highest district position is an event board president Alan Bengry remembers well.

"One of the first things I did on the board was interview and hire him in 1988," Bengry said.

He appreciated Hyde for many reasons. Hyde always had or could get answers to questions, was trustworthy and always was doing his best, Bengry added.

"It's a little surreal this is his last meeting, but I feel really good for him," Bengry said. "It's going to be different, but it's kind of exciting, too."

Hyde found his feelings hard to pinpoint following the meeting, but said he believes the high points of his career at EPS have been when bond issues and special education millages have passed, and when ball fields were added when Ice Mountain invested in Evart.

"I guess it's a relief, but we'll see," he said. "I've worked with a lot of great board members, a lot of great teachers, and the staff I work with in the office are fantastic. I'll miss the people the most."

Fellow board member Karen Pylman agreed with Bengry's sentiments about Hyde.

"It's bittersweet for Howard and us, and we wish him all of the happiness in the future," she said.

In more business, Evart Middle School Spanish teacher Jessica Kolenda addressed the board with updates regarding the possible Costa Rica trip she first discussed last month. She said 14 individuals have already enrolled, or showed interest, with the trip through Education First. The individuals include herself, two female adults and 11 students. Nine other individuals showed interest as well, but have not yet enrolled, Kolenda said.

Kolenda's goal is to take students who have taken at least two years of Spanish to Costa Rica in the summer of 2017.

The board made no motion regarding the trip, and has until its January meeting to approve or reject the idea.

In more business, Evart Middle School Principal Jason O'Dell spoke to the board about the possibility of the school's former archery program returning for students through partnership with USA Archery. He said the school already has most of the equipment, but may come to an agreement of a donation through Morgan's Composting for the missing pieces.

O'Dell said in the future he would like to see students have the opportunity to have a membership in state archery organizations and compete.