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North Adams School Committee Bids Farewell to Member

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Schrade is presented with a plaque by Mayor Richard Alcombright at his last meeting with the School Committee on Tuesday.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The School Committee bid farewell to member William G. Schrade Jr. on Tuesday at his last meeting.

Superintendent James Montepare and Chairman Mayor Richard Alcombright both spoke to Schrade's integrity, dedication and willingess to ask the tough questions.

"I just want to personally thank for your time and effort you've put into this committee," said Superintendent James Montepare. "I don't always agree with you but I truly appreciate you speaking your mind ... I always know where you're coming from if I don't always know where we're going."

He noted Schrade's long involvement in negotiations and his presence at so many school events, whether his own children were there or not.

Alcombright presented Schrade with a plaque citing his dedicated service from 2000 to 2012.

"One thing I've truly loved about you is the devil's advocate nature in you," he said. "You definitely ask tough questions and definitely get us all thinking on many different topics. For that I think you should be commended. You're anything but a yes man."

Schrade, who has served three foyears, decided not run for re-election. His seat will be filled by City Councilor David Lamarre, who ran for the School Committee this year.

"After 12 years, hundreds of meetings, seeing the good, the bad and I can't belive it, my time on the School Committee is over," said Schrade, who teared up a little on saying goodbye to his colleagues. "I have to say it's been a pleasure to serve on this committee."

He recalled that when he'd been elected a dozen years ago, the schools weren't collaborating, school improvements were a wish list, and there was nothing to do after the final bell rang. Now, the school adminstration works collaboratively, academics have improved and more than 300 children take advantage of the after-school program.

"We have the best school district in Massachusetts and I truly believe that," said Schrade, who thanked the district's employees for going beyond the call of duty, and his colleagues for their dedicated work. "There's never been animosity ... we knew the common goal for everyone who took this position was for what was best for the district and I will always be thankful for that."

Schrade said he was leaving because he knew when it was time to go. He'd said before the election that it was important for the board to get a "new and fresh perspective."

"You stood by your convictions and what you believed in and what best served the students of this district, which is the most important thing you can do," said Alcombright, who vowed Schrade will only get a year off before being nagged to take another post. "You're a great asset to the community."

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