Belding school board member announces retirement

By Cory Smith • Last Updated 12:15 pm on Monday, October 24, 2011

Daily News/Cory Smith Byron Davey announced his retirement from the Belding School Board after 37 years of involvement in the Belding school system, 33 years as a teacher and four as a board member.

BELDING — Byron Davey pushed back his chair, stood up and delivered the final statement of Monday evening’s Belding Area Schools Board of Education meeting.
As it turns out, it would also be his final statement as a member of the school board.
Davey, choking up as he spoke with tears in his eyes, officially announced his retirement from the board after more than 37 years of involvement in the Belding school system — 33 as a teacher and four as a board member.
“Sixty years ago my family moved to Belding,” said Davey. “Between my father, my son and myself, there have been three generations of ‘Mr. Davey’ to teach at Belding High School. The color orange holds a special place in my heart.”
Davey was appointed to the board after applying in 2007 and was then officially elected in the summer of 2008.
“Next week I will file my letter of resignation from the board,” Davey continued. “It is with a note of sadness, as the community and our schools are major components of my life.”
Before joining the school board, Davey taught sixth grade at Hall Park Elementary in Belding for two years. He became the new chemistry teacher at Belding High School (BHS) in 1968, a position he would hold until his retirement from teaching in 2001.
Davey said it is rare for a retired teacher to return to the school system as a board member and believes his dual perspective helped him make better decisions.
“I could see how decisions would impact kids in the classroom having been a teacher previously,” he said. “I was on the curriculum committee. We look at all the mandates, how instruction is done in the classrooms for the students. Those kind of non-financial things. Having spent 33 years in the classroom I had a pretty good grasp on what was needed for students to succeed at BHS.”
Davey retired from teaching in part because he also is a pastor, currently at the First Congregational Church in Belding. But Davey’s continued involvement and passion for Belding schools left the door open to return as a member of the board once he heard there was an opening.
“I retired from teaching at BHS because I was a pastor in Greenville at the time,” said Davey. “It just got to the point where 33 years was enough. But when a vacancy appeared on the board four years ago it was an obvious choice to step forward and apply since Belding education has been grafted into my DNA.”
His colleagues on the board will miss Davey’s insight.
“He will definitely be missed,” Board President Tom Humphreys said. “As one of the long-time members of this board, I personally appreciate the wisdom and insight he brought to this board. Not just as a community member, but as a teacher. I know that even though he will no longer be on the board he will continue to be an active part as a member of the community.”
Davey also will retire from serving as a pastor on Dec. 25 and spend each winter in Lakeland, Fla., with his wife, Debra. But Davey vows to stay involved in the Belding school system in any way he can.
“I chose to return to Belding to enter my career as an educator,” said Davey. “I chose to keep our children in the schools here knowing that they would receive an education of the highest quality. I’m retiring from the board but never from the school system. I love it here and I will continue to contribute in some way.”
Davey says his best moment as a board member was to be included in the decision to expand and renovate the high school, which is expected to be completed in January 2013.
“I was here as a teacher when the new high school was constructed in 1976,” said Davey. “To be on the board when we decided to add on to that very same building, it’s had a big impact on me.”
Davey said he will continue his role as the announcer at Belding track events and as the official timer for cross country events.
“He’s been an institution here,” Humphreys said. “We’ve been fortunate that he’s dedicated himself the way he has to this community.”
After a tearful fairwell, Davey gave the final motion of the night, adjourning his final meeting.

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