The Owensboro Public Schools are recognizing the contributions of two long-serving board members at the end of the year. Nancy Eskridge will retire from the board after 26 years of service, while John Blaney is retiring after 12 years on the board and a long career in public education at OPS.
Eskridge was first appointed to the board in 1992 and was elected in 1993. She served from 1994 to 2018 alongside 16 other board members and four superintendents. She will retire the longest serving board member in OPS history. She is known as a tireless advocate of the arts. During her tenure, the district made significant investments in creating one of the top visual and performing arts programs in the United States. This honor was affirmed in 2015 when the district was awarded the Kennedy Center Award for the Arts. She is also a passionate advocate of early childhood education. Another major objective of her service was realized in August when OPS extended preschool from a half-day to an all-day program.
Blaney was elected to the board in 2006, serving from 2007 to 2018. Prior to his service he served as an educator in the district for 30 years. During that time he worked in several schools, serving as the principal of Foust, Estes, and Owensboro Middle School. Blaney has always been a strong advocate of the most underserved students. He is passionate about literacy and was a strong supporter of the district literacy effort "Owensboro Reads" that won national recognition in 2014. He is also a strong supporter for teachers and the importance of the district having one of the most competitive salary packages and teacher-focused work environments to attract the best talent in the profession.
It is hard to understate the value of over 35 years of collective board experience and over 60 years of education experience that will leave with both retirements. We wish both our heartfelt congratulations and best of luck in the future. We cannot thank them enough for their dedication and service to the student of the Owensboro Public Schools. They will be missed!