The atmosphere was tinged with a touch of sorrow Tuesday evening as the Elkin City Schools Board of Education held a special recognition dinner in honor of Haley Sullivan at Mazzini’s Italian Restaurant. Sullivan has served on the school board for the past four years, but after the recent election will be giving up her seat to Judy Walker, whom Sullivan described as “care(ing) for our children first and foremost.”
Sullivan said she had mixed emotions about leaving the school board. “It’s an end to a blessing. I’m sad to not be able to serve in the same capacity, but I’ll find another way to serve Elkin City Schools.”
“I’m thankful for Haley,” said Dr. Randy Bledsoe, recently retired superintendent. “Her focus is always on the staff and kids and she kept us where we need to be. We have the highest accolades ever for Elkin City Schools. That’s because of Haley.”
In a Wednesday morning Facebook post following the election results, Sullivan denied that she was the cause, crediting the success at Elkin to the school staff, parents and “amazing community.”
Interim Superintendent Dr. Don Martin has only known Sullivan for a short time, however he felt “her background as a social worker was very helpful. She was professional and capable. A real asset.”
Martin went on to say, “There’s a lot of homework to do as a board member and Haley always did her homework.”
School board Chairman Dr. Richard Brinegar said he will miss Sullivan’s “passion for the kids. Her compassion and love for this community was really inspiring for me. Everything I asked her to do to help me, she was right there. She was a great community asset.”
Chief Instructional Officer Cynthia Altemueller said, “I will miss Ms. Sullivan as she always made decisions in the best interest of our students. She was an asset and she will be missed.”
Sullivan said she decided to run four years ago because, “I felt there was a group of children and parents who weren’t able to represent themselves, as well as to make sure every child has equal opportunity and access to a quality education and everything that goes with it.”
“I know Elkin City Schools are in great hands with this board and the staff. I want to thank them for the opportunity to serve,” stated Sullivan.
In her Facebook post, Sullivan continued to express her gratitude as well as her continued confidence in the school board, saying, “I’d like to thank everyone for their support during the past month…It has been my great pleasure to be able to serve the students, staff and community.”
Sullivan stated that she “will cherish the relationships (she has) made while serving on the board.” Sullivan wished Walker and the board well indicating that she was “excited to see the new direction and leadership that is coming to Elkin.”
Sullivan will now have more time for Bayada Home Healthcare where she works as a client services manager, which entails accepting and rejecting new cases, employee relations and human resources, marketing for new clients, and marketing and public relations with doctors and hospitals. She also volunteers at Tri-County Christian Crisis Ministry and provides meals for The ARK through her church involvement where she also serves as youth leader at her church.
“Elkin has and always will be my home and community,” Sullivan posted.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.