Former school board President Harry Shea did not seek re-election this year and ends his two-decade tenure.
In the 21 years Harry Shea served on the Cinnaminson Township Board of Education, he only missed one meeting.
"I was serious about the job," said Shea
After more than two decades on the board, 15 of them as president, Shea
decided it was finally time to not run again, something he'd been saying for the last three terms.
"I kept saying it would be my last," Shea
"I truly thought I would grow tired of it and there would be other anxious people to get on.
But, I was still interested."
first came onto the board in 1990, when his
now 30-year-old daughter was in first grade.
grew up in Cinnaminson but had moved to Palmyra for 10 years.
wife wanted their daughter in the Cinnaminson school district, so they bought a house here.
Back then, Shea
had heard rumors the Cinnaminson, Riverton and Palmyra school districts were merging.
"I started going to board meetings to find out more about it.
It never did come for board discussion," he
"It was a rumor that was unfounded."
got excited attending those meetings.
ran himself and won.
"I always felt it was the most important committee you can serve on at the local level," Shea
Shea served as vice president for a few years, and then took over as board president in 1995.
With only one year off as president since then, his
last board meeting was in April.
But, some of the biggest challenges Shea faced were early on in his
school board career, he
Five budgets in a row in the 1990s were defeated and drastic slashes seemed inevitable.
"I think we were able to do it," Shea
"We were able to maintain most of the programs.
I was proud of being able to do that-not really impacting education negativity in the fact of a lot of cuts."
Shea also calls the hiring of Superintendent Sal Illuzzi in 2000 as one of his greatest accomplishments.
also been extremely happy with the administrative positions he's
helped to hire.
"They, in turn, have hired a very good staff," Shea
attributes it to the extensive interview process for teaching positions.
"When you go through that process, you get good people," he
Recently, the personal tragedies in the school district have been challenging, he
Just this school year alone, the district was forced to deal with the untimely deaths of two teachers and a student.
"To respond to it properly took a lot of effort and planning to get the right people to be able to help the staff and students get through tragic circumstances," he
"That challenge was uncharted territory throughout the board.
It takes a lot out of you."
Two of the came in the middle of budget time, and Shea
said the budget took a backseat.
The budget was by voters on April 27 by 22 votes, but Shea
wouldn't trade it.
"If the budget was a victim of that, so be it," he
can focus on his
business and his
family, and said he
hopes to be involved somehow; but he's
not going to become the 10th member of the board.
"I will be around and maybe I can do some volunteering in another capacity," he
I first met Harry
on the school playground when we were in 4th grade.
We did all the usual childhood adventures with Cub Scouts, little league and being in the 2nd graduating class of CHS.
As adults we were there for marriages, babies and the passing of parents.
Harry was on the Board for all the right reasons and stayed for all the right reasons.
When I was a teacher and he was the Board President we did not always agree.
But in our disagreements we were never disagreeable.
That is a trait that is seriously lacking in today's world.
is indeed a fair and caring volunteer in Cinnaminson.
I respect and appreciate all that he
Thank you, Harry!