Black thanked for 41 years of service to D45

  • Valenda Black (left) is presented a gift bag from Crissie Stapleton, District 45’s acting superintendent, during the March 9 meeting for her 41 years of service to the district, including the past 14 as a board member.

Valenda Black was recognized last week for 41 years of service to Barnwell District 45.

The March 9 school board meeting was Black’s last one as a board member as she decided not to seek re-election next month. Black served 14 years on the board but previously worked in the district office for 27 years.

“Mrs. Black has dedicated many years and has been very important to District 45. She will be missed,” said acting superintendent Crissie Stapleton, who presented Black with a gift.

Susan Eichman said she is proud of her mother for standing by her beliefs. “She has been steadfast and strong for every child in this district,” said Eichman, who attended the meeting along with her children.

“I appreciate all the support you gave to the staff. We need more like you. I wish you well,” said board member Rosey Anderson, a retired district employee. She credits Black as part of the reason she ran for the board last year.

District 45 Board Chairwoman Teresa Spence also credits Black as the reason she ran for the board. While they did not always agree, Spence said Black has made her a stronger board member. “I’ll never forget her faith in me and mentoring,” said Spence.

Board member Abraham Sexton said he was surprised to learn Black was not running for another term, but expressed his appreciation for her work over the years. “We love you,” said Sexton, who said he has considered Black like a sister.

Though she is going to miss being on the board, Black said she felt it was time to retire because she needs to put her family first right now and is unable to give 100 percent to the district.

“Please always keep what’s best for the children first,” said Black to her fellow board members and district leaders. She said that’s what she tried to do during her tenure, even if she was standing alone. She let God be the “driving force” of her life and the decisions she made.

She said recognizing students for their accomplishments was one of her favorite parts of the job. “Success of our students over the years is hard matched with districts our size,” she said.

She also wished the best to the candidates in the April 11 election.

Stapleton invited Black to be involved in the district in some form, such as serving on a team or committee.