OKEECHOBEE — The Okeechobee County School Board honored former board member Billie Jean Reynolds at their Dec. 8 meeting.
Mrs. Reynolds passed away on Sept. 16 this year at the age of 91.
Mrs. Reynolds served on the Okeechobee County School Board from 1967 to 1982, with 11 of those years as either vice chairwoman or chairwoman of the board.
“The School Board and superintendent deeply regret the passing of this prominent citizen,” reads the proclamation that will be signed on Dec. 8. “The board held Mrs. Reynolds in high regard as a friend to education and as an involved citizen of the community.”
During the recognition, Schools Superintendent Ken Kenworthy pointed out that Mrs. Reynolds’ granddaughter-in-law is the current chairwoman of the School Board, Amanda Riedel.
“Bille Jean was actually appointed to replace her then husband in October of 1967,” said Kenworthy after reading the proclamation. “She contributed a lot while she was here. I don’t know how much people realize how much this has been in her family. Her husband served from January 1967 to October. Then Bille Jean took over and served until 1982. After that her daughter-in-law, India Riedel, was elected in November of 1996 and served until November of 2016. And now her granddaughter-in-law is serving. So when you add all those up, the whole family has served this district for 39 years in a leadership capacity.”
Also on the agenda was the issue of continuing to allow the use of face masks until further notice. The first face mask provision was passed by the board on July 14 with plans to revisit at the end of the first nine weeks.
At the end of those first nine weeks, the board approved the continued use of masks until the end of the first semester, allowing breaks when social distancing is possible at the discretion of the teacher. The recommendation from the superintendent was to approve the use of masks until further notice to save time from having to approve it every few weeks.
Board member Joe Arnold said he’d be comfortable coming back and reviewing the use of masks once every quarter rather than until further notice. That sentiment was echoed by other board members and the motion was amended to reflect the change.