Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Fairfield-Suisun schools superintendent bids farewell

From the Vacaville Reporter June 7, 2005

By Julie Kay/Staff WriterTheReporter.Com

Hundreds of people packed Crystal Middle School's multi-purpose room Monday night to honor retiring superintendent Sharon Tucker for her devotion, her strength, and her spunk.

About half of those present sat at flower-adorned tables with the rest lining the walls, as they looked back over the Fairfield-Suisun superintendent's seven and one-half year tenure with laughter and a few tears.

More than a dozen speakers including teachers, former board members and city leaders remembered Tucker through stories, jokes, and reflections.

Armijo High School teacher Cathy Canaday recalled complaining on a winter day because there was no heat at the school. Tucker, she said, blithely suggested she sit in her car with the heat on for awhile.

Not long after, Canaday griped about Armijo's lack of computers. The next day, she discovered a new computer at the school - Tucker's own.

Mike Helm, one of the members of the school board that hired Tucker, began by comparing her
with Dolly Parton.

"They both believe that if you want the rainbow, you've got to put up with the rain," he explained, smiling.

Helm ended on a serious note.

"I'm proud to be a part of the school board that hired you," he said. "I believe it was one of the best decisions we made."

Former teachers' union presidents Laurel Salerno-White and Liz Priest acknowledged years characterized by bitter debate between teachers and the district but lauded Tucker's commitment.

"When you do butt heads and still can ... come out working in a positive way: that is the sign of a good administrator," said Salerno-White.

Tucker sat at a table adorned with flowers and a stack of books, donated at her request in lieu of gifts. Tucker's family - including her mother, daughter, and son - joined her at the front of the room.

"I am so ... so really proud," said Tucker in her response at the end of the ceremony. "You have been very, very kind to me in Fairfield-Suisun and I do appreciate it."

She introduced her family to the audience and thanked them for their tremendous support.
Several audience members dabbed their eyes as Tucker's white-haired mother approached the microphone.

"I'm so proud," she said to Tucker. "I love you, daughter."

Julie Kay can be reached at schools@thereporter.com.

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