By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
District maintenance staff recognized for working over winter break while schools across Forsyth suffered water damage
Darla Light elected as Board of Education chair for 2023
01202023 BOE
Water falls from the ceiling in Chestatee Elementary School’s media center before facilities and maintenance staff are able to shut off the water and start repairs over the winter break. Photo courtesy of Forsyth County Schools.

The Forsyth County Board of Education recognized facilities and maintenance staff members at its latest meeting for their response to water damage at schools over the winter break.

Mostly occurring over the Dec. 24-25 weekend, Chief Facilities Officer Matt Wark said, 15 of the school district’s 42 schools were affected by water damage due to record-breaking temperatures.

Although many staff members were on Christmas vacation at the time, Wark said his team stepped up.

“To give you a scope of how many hours many of these individuals put in, they spent 36 hours on just Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in schools,” Wark said. “And these individuals and myself, these guys were on vacation. We did not see the families …. But these individuals never said no.”

Wark and his team spent the next week fixing damage so schools ready when teachers returned on Jan. 3.

“This type of dedication, I’m glad to have community members see,” Wark said. “These are the people who take care of your buildings every day for your kids.”

Superintendent Jeff Bearden thanked Wark and the team for their efforts.

"Because of this team, all of our children could return to school after winter break," Bearden said. “Thank you is not nearly sufficient, but I hope you know how much you are all appreciated, respected and valued."

The Forsyth County Education Foundation’s governing board gave its own thanks to the staff by providing each member with a $150 gift card “for the time that they lost.”

“We extremely appreciate the generous $2,250 contribution from the foundation and an additional thank you to recognize our employees and their dedication to keeping our schools safe for students and staff,” Wark said.

While the district recognized the full team, it also recognized 15 employees it said were essential to the efforts:

●     Chief Facilities Officer Matt Wark;

●     Maintenance Leads Kevin Songer, Wayne Caston, Steve Mooney and Lee Rowe;

●     Maintenance Technicians Bo Weldy, Cliff Funderburg, Clarence Crenshaw, Shane Bearden, John Dimattina, Ken Corley, Todd Ogletree, Todd Carney, Levi Sanford and Russell Arnett.

Board officers

The board voted to elect District 4 representative Darla Light as its new chair for 2023 while welcoming in new member Mike Valdes.

Together, the six members unanimously voted to elect the following positions:

·         Darla Light, District 4 — Board Chair

·         Lindsey Adams, District 2 — Vice Chair and Chamber of Commerce liaison

·         Tom Cleveland, District 3 — Youth Drug Council chair

·         Mike Valdes, District 5 — Legislative liaison and Georgia School Board Association liaison

·         Wes McCall, District 1 — Homeless Youth Council chair