Gary Blough Retires from School Board After 12 Years

A familiar face was missing from the January meeting of the Lowell Area Schools Board of Education. Last year, Gary Blough decided that three terms as a school board member were enough and that it was time to pass the torch.

“It was time to let someone else who has kids in school take over,” he explains.

The December 2022 meeting was Blough’s last, but he leaves feeling confident that the district is in good hands. If there is one hallmark of LAS, he says, it’s that everyone is dedicated to doing their very best for students.

Retirement Opened Door to Serving on School Board

Blough’s retirement from the Post Office in 2009 was the catalyst for him joining the Board of Education.

“I thought, if I’m going to do something, this is the time,” Blough remembers. He didn’t have his sights set on any particular activity but simply wanted to be more involved in the community in some way. Soon, he discovered there was an open seat on the school board.

“Back then, no one was running,” he says. So he decided to put his name in for the seat and was elected in May, which is when school elections were held at that time. He would go on to win two more terms, and after the last election, he decided that would be his last. His son had graduated from Lowell High School in 2010 and his daughter followed in 2014. It was time, he thought, to step aside so someone else could take a turn on the board.

Focus on Students Never Changes

During Blough’s 12 years on the board, he says facilities have been improved and teaching methods have changed, but the commitment to excellence has remained the same.

He notes that in the past, there was an emphasis on getting students into college, but more recently, there has been an understanding that a four-year degree isn’t right for everyone. As a result, there is more focus now on helping students understand and prepare for trade school and vocational training options.

The COVID-19 pandemic also brought changes to the district, although they weren’t as welcome.

“We discovered that we can educate students (outside) the classroom although that’s not the way we want to go,” he says, referencing the district’s move to online and hybrid learning models in 2020.

While the pandemic has been difficult for everyone, Blough says, “I’m really proud of the way everyone works together.”

Grateful for the Opportunity

As he prepares for the next chapter in his life, Blough says he has no immediate plans. He hopes LAS will continue to build upon its past successes, and he feels confident that the new school board members are up to the task. He also trusts that teachers and administrators alike will continue their excellent work.

“Everyone is dedicated to teaching our kids, and that really shows,” he says.

As for his time on the school board, Blough notes: “It’s been a great opportunity.” And despite the stress of the pandemic, he sums up his 12 years on the Board of Education in this way: “It’s been fun.”

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