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Roseburg High School senior Freedom Conner is congratulated by Roseburg Public Schools board member Joe Garcia during the 2018 commencement ceremony. Garcia resigned from the board at the end of Wednesday’s board meeting.

Joe Garcia resigned from the Roseburg school board at the end of Wednesday’s board meeting.

Garcia has been the board chair since 2018 and served on the board since July 2008. He announced his resignation, effective immediately, during the individual reports by directors — the final agenda item of the meeting.

“What he’s done in our community to make sure our kids have the best chance for success and our staff and community. It’s a good opportunity to reflect on his 12 years of service,” Roseburg Public Schools Superintendent Jared Cordon said. “Celebrate what he’s done and his work on the board.”

Cordon, board members and community members thanked Garcia for his service.

“He was the glue that held the bond campaign together,” Steve Loosley said. “Even though he steps away from the board, his heart is still into Roseburg schools.”

Garcia said he’s taking the step back to spend more time with his family.

“My intent was to resign two years ago, but I was asked to stay to help the district make some transitions. I fulfilled that commitment,” Garcia said. “Resigning now allows the board the flexibility and time to move forward with filling my position. I have all the confidence in our board and their ability to continue to move our district in the right direction. More importantly, we have the right superintendent in place, Jared Cordon, who is the person who will lead this district to be what this community and our kids deserve.”

Steve Patterson, who joined the school board in July 2010 and served as vice-chair for the past two years, will take over the role as board chair.

“It’s been an honor to work side by side with you,” Patterson told Garcia. “As a board, we’ll have a big hole to fill. You’ve been an integral part of this board since I’ve been on it. It’s certainly not going to be the same.”

The board expects to interview candidates for the position vacated by Garcia during a July 15 organizational meeting. The positions for board chair and vice-chair will also be voted upon by the school board at that time.

The person who will fill the board position vacated by Garcia will serve until June 30, 2021. The position will be permanently filled in July following the May 2021 election.

“It’s easy to take our institutions and systems for granted. It’s far more difficult to roll up your sleeves and get involved to make them better for the greater good,” Garcia said. “Serving on a school board is one of the most important volunteer services anyone can do in a community. It appears easier than it really is, but it can be one of the most rewarding things to do. Every year when you see the buses start their routes and all of the kids with their backpacks heading into school or at graduation when you hand diplomas to the graduates, it’s nice to know that you play some small role in helping the system work for the benefits of our kids and community.”

Garcia served as the chair of the administration and personnel committee and was a member of the building and sites and finance committees.

Garcia grew up attending schools in the Roseburg school district and is the Douglas County Community Corrections director.

Fellow school board member Micki Hall taught Garcia and said he’s still a bit of the pit bull he was in school, but in a steadfast way.

“When he makes a mistake, he’s willing to admit it,” she said. “Age has improved him definitely. Thank you for everything you’ve done.”

Garcia submitted his resignation before the meeting, but the announcement came as a surprise to some of the board members.

“This last year has been a heavy burden,” board member Charles Lee said. “He’s put a large amount of work into (the position) when others would’ve let things go.”

Board member Rod Cotton thanked Garcia for being a friend.

“If someone were to write a book about being a board chair, they’d use you as a model. You are perfect,” Cotton said. “It’s been a pleasure.”

Sanne Godfrey can be reached at sgodfrey@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4203. Follow her on Twitter @sannegodfrey.

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