The very large group of Morrison folks that congregated May 14 at the old campus cafeteria was testimony to the positive impact Jay Vernon had as Superintendent of Morrison Schools.
After 11 years, it was difficult for both Vernon and the community of Morrison to say goodbye.
“To just say thank you to our community is not enough, and shallow,” Vernon said in a farewell address. “Staying here and continuing to support our school and community will hopefully show my appreciation.
“Morrison has meant a lot to me for a very long time. I had the best teachers while in high school (at Morrison) and we have the best ones here now. After 30 years it was time to find something else, I’ve been going to school since I was 6 years old and want to find a niche someplace else.”
Vernon reported the greatest pleasure he had as the superintendent was hiring very capable and wonderful teachers and administrators.
“I know that they will continue to do a super job, and make Morrison an even better school and community,” Vernon said.
The completion of the new elementary school building was a great advancement, during his years of service. The best compliments he heard were the ones when parents would tell him that their child was not as sick as when they were in the old school.
Vernon does not plan to just “sit and retire,” but is moving forward with employment outside of education. His wife, Shawna, will continue running Encompass Home Health. His children, Kalie and Trevor, are in college and beginning their adult life.
“I have no huge plans to travel, just to continue to be an active and supportive Morrison community member,” Vernon said.
“Education has a long way to go before we can say we are truly doing everything we can with our children in mind, and not a political battle. We must continue to make more things available for our students and their future successes. I hope that I can help support and elect legislators that are willing to do what it takes to help our kids.”
He hopes legislators will provide the funding teachers need in the classrooms and monies for classes that they can’t afford now.
“I know all our staff will do their best to keep Morrison atop the educational ladder, and will do all they can to support our students. It has been a pleasure serving you and I wish you the best in the future. Thank you,” Vernon said.
The speech was followed with a supper buffet, and opportunity for attendees to visit with Vernon. Past Superintendent of Morrison Schools Phil Berkenbile was present, as well as many of the families, staff and former staff.
Vernon’s pride and joy, his little granddaughter Malia Vernon, ran to her grandpa’s arms.
Former Morrison High School Principal Brent Haken attended, and will take over as Morrison Schools Superintendent. He will undoubtedly rise to the occasion to follow in Jay Vernon’s footsteps, and proceed with the legacy of integrity and excellence that Vernon leaves as he retires.
Amy Keith lives near and writes about the town of Morrison.