The two members stepping down from the Grandview school board are leaving office expressing gratitude for their time on the panel.

Grant Douglass and Stephanie Evans both opted not to run for re-election.

"It's been a real honor to serve my community," said Douglass, who spent eight years on the board, including a stint as president.

"And to be able to serve your community on behalf of public education is a particular honor, because I really do believe public education is the center of the community," he said.

Serving on the board is "easy if all you want to do is maintain the status quo, because we have great students and parents and a great community," Douglass said. "But if you want to take us where we belong, which I believe is No. 1 in the nation, then that takes a lot of effort and focus."

Fortunately, his fellow board members, the district leadership and teachers shared in that vision, he said.

While much of the board's focus over the past few years has been facilities, "academics remains our most important focus," Douglass said. "It's all about moving forward and getting better. You can have a great state-of-the-art building, but it's what happens within those walls that's really important."

Perhaps the most-important achievement during his time on the school board was the district's embracing of technology in the classroom, he said.

"One of the reasons I got involved with running for the board was how backward our technology was," Douglass said. "A decade ago, if a student brought a laptop to school, they could be suspended. Now we're committed to a 1:1 initiative for each student to have access to a device and enhancing the platforms for students to use their laptops."

The project to improve the health and wellness center at the high school is another enhancement to the district, he said.

"What's important with that facility is that now women feel they have equal access to our facilities," Douglass said. "That's awfully important."

His one regret as he leaves office is feeling the district could do a better job of serving special-needs students and children who come from disadvantaged backgrounds, he said.

Evans was elected to the board in 2013 as a write-in candidate.

She said she decided to enter the race only after board member Katie Clifford's petition was rejected by the Franklin County Board of Elections on a technicality.

"I had a great interest in the district and education, so when Katie had to withdraw, I kind of thought maybe that was a sign and it was time for me to step forward," Evans said.

Her four years on the board been been "very rewarding," she said.

"It's been a great learning experience. Certainly there have been challenges, but it's helped me grow as a person. It's been very meaningful for me to serve on the board."

At her first meeting after being sworn in, the district learned Superintendent Ed O'Reilly would resign to take another position.

"So right away, we had to jump into the fire of hiring a new superintendent, and then a new treasurer," Evans said.

That has been the most rewarding and satisfying part of her term, she said.

"With Andy (Culp) and Beth (Collier), we made outstanding choices of leaders who are taking our district to the next level," Evans said.

"It's not just them, it's also the people they've hired and brought in. We have an amazing leadership team in place."

Serving on the school board means "sometimes making hard decisions that weren't always popular with everybody," she said.

"The guiding principle I used was to let my conscience be my guide," Evans said. "I always tried to act in what I thought was the best interest of the community and our students."

afroman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekAfroman