O’Flaherty looks back on service


The end of the year marks the end of Frances O’Flaherty’s 18-year run on the Delaware City Schools Board of Education.

O’Flaherty, who joined the board in 2003 after seeing an article in the newspaper about a lack of applicants for a vacant board seat, said she’s “honored” to have served for nearly two decades.

“When I first saw it, nobody had applied and I thought somebody should step up,” O’Flaherty said. “It was time for me to do this.”

O’Flaherty said one of her most memorable moments on the board happened in her first term, when the district was trying to pass a tax levy.

“… There was a levy on (the ballot) and the ground was still frozen, and all these people wanted levy signs in their yard but you couldn’t get those little pikes into the ground,” O’Flaherty said. “So my job … I took my husband’s cordless drill and a really long bit and I delivered all these signs, but I had to drill all these holes in the ground.”

She added that experience “was a one time thing … but I felt useful.”

O’Flaherty said she’s also proud to have been part of the numerous expansions the district has undergone in the last few years to accommodate all the growth within the community.

“We came up with something that not only worked at the time but we’re still expanding,” O’Flaherty said. “That was a pretty big deal. (I’m proud we saved Willis Education Center) and were able to keep (it) as a part of the schools and to have it open for the community … I love that building. Both my kids went to Willis and I always enjoyed being in there, but it’s definitely not a good school building anymore.”

As for the district’s response to the pandemic, O’Flaherty said, “I’m really proud that we were able to deal with the COVID emergency as well as we did and to continue to serve our community even when everything was shut down. (I’m proud) to be part of a school community that did the very best possible things we could to keep our kids safe.”

O’Flaherty did not run for reelection this year and took part in her final board meeting on Dec. 6.

“I wasn’t going to run (in 2017) but I was convinced by people in the community and among the school board to stay on for another term,” O’Flaherty said. “I’m really glad I was on the board when it came to all the things we had to do during the pandemic.”

While O’Flaherty said she’s disappointed that after she leaves the board there will be no more teachers serving as board members, she’s glad several board members have children who attend Delaware City Schools.

“Mike, Jayna, and Melissa will all have kids that are in the schools, so you’ll have that perspective,” O’Flaherty said. “I thought we needed someone who can bring that back in.”

O’Flaherty added it has been “an honor and privilege to be able to represent the teaching community and the east side.”

Delaware City Schools Board President Frances O’Flaherty talks to students who came to a board meeting to show off a craft in October 2018.
https://www.delgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2021/12/web1_frances-2.jpgDelaware City Schools Board President Frances O’Flaherty talks to students who came to a board meeting to show off a craft in October 2018. Courtesy photo | Delaware City Schools

By Glenn Battishill

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Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.Reach

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