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Goforth honored for 14 years of school board service

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School officials, family members and friends attended a reception Monday to honor longtime school board member Jim Goforth (center, holding clock) of Hartfield. (Photo by Tom Hardin)
by Tom Hardin

School officials, family members and friends gathered at the Cooks Corner Office Complex meeting room Monday to honor a man who has served the children of the Middlesex County School System for 28 years, the last 14 as a member of the county school board.

Jim Goforth began his career with the Middlesex County Schools in 1978 as assistant superintendent of schools. He served as superintendent of schools from 1984 to 1991.

In 1995, after Middlesex County adopted a law requiring the election of school board members, Goforth was in the inaugural class of elected board members along with Nancy Jackson, Buddy Moore, Martha Lowe and Wayne Jessie. He was re-elected three times.

Garland Harrow of Deltaville defeated Goforth in the 2009 election and will take office on January 1, 2010.

At Monday’s reception, Middlesex School Superintendent Rusty Fairheart praised Goforth’s commitment to “serving children” for 43 years as a teacher, administrator and school board member. “He was uniquely qualified as a school board member and truly an asset to me,” said Fairheart. “He provided me with guidance and sound advice and truly will be missed by the faculty, staff and students. We have been blessed to have him as a school board member.”

Fellow board member Dr. Richard Shores described Goforth as a “true friend. If you want to set a guideline as to what a school board member should be, he is it.”

Shores said he didn’t think teachers realized how Goforth led the battle over the years to increase their salaries and to use any surpluses to help them with medical insurance costs.

“Jim is a true supporter of the school system. We will miss him, and I will always seek his advice,” said Shores.

School board chair Beth Hurd said, “Jim has contributed more to my understanding of what a good school board member should be than anyone else. He was very good with budget and personnel items. It’s unusual to find someone with his kind of talent and experience to serve on the board.

“He always took a problem and tried to find a positive solution,” continued Hurd. “He rarely missed a board meeting and was a good role model for the other board members.”

An emotional Goforth told those at the reception he had a difficult time deciding whether to run for re-election this year but “I truly wanted to be here to serve with Rusty [Fairheart]. He is going to do a great job.”

Goforth said his “heart will always be with the school division.”

Goforth was presented with an engraved clock in recognition of his 14 years on the school board.

posted 12.16.2009

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