County Judge Barnett Walker administers the oath of office to (l-r) Curtis Rippee, Kathi Livezey, Maria McKinzie and Kenneth Ussery.

It was an evening of transition for the McKinney ISD Board of Trustees on Tuesday night as they bid a heartfelt farewell to Board President Bobby Amick, administered the oath of office for four recently-elected members and named new officers for the upcoming year.

Amick, who has served on the board since 2011 and as board president for the past year, announced in February that he would not seek re-election during the board election in May.

But, before Amick officially turned Place 2 over to his successor Kenneth Ussery on Tuesday night, MISD Superintendent Dr. Rick McDaniel directed his attention to the video screen where the district played a montage of images and video clips from Amick’s tenure on the board. He was genuinely moved by the gesture.

“I really appreciate this,” Amick said, addressing his fellow board members and the audience. “When I came to the board six years ago, I just wanted to help. I wanted to be a part of something that was working, that was good—and try to make it a little better. I just wanted to contribute, and the members of this board welcomed me and brought me in…,” he said.

“[T]hey accepted me, and they loved me and that’s what service is about. I want to thank each of them. I’ll always have a special place in my heart [for them]. And, if I show up for a board meeting from time to time [and] speak at open forum, I know that I only have three minutes,” he concluded with a smile. “Thank you very much.”

Amick stepped away from his seat and strode into the audience amid heartfelt applause.

Recently re-elected incumbents Maria McKinzie (Place 1) and Kathi Livezey (Place 3)—who were unopposed in the board elections held earlier this month—were joined at the center of the stage by Curtis Rippee (Place 6 – At-Large) and Kenneth Ussery (Place 2), who each won their respective campaigns.

County Judge Barnett Walker presided over the ceremony and administered the oath of office to officially usher them onto the board.

For board newcomer Kenneth Ussery, it was a weighty moment. “The swearing in ceremony brought to light the reality and the honor of what is being entrusted to me,” Ussery said. “Bobby Amick, whose seat I am filling, is going to be missed on the board. He has served well for many years, providing valuable insight and wisdom for our district, faculty, administration and students. In his place, I also seek to serve with eyes wide open and ears attuned to affirm, celebrate and encourage the strengths of our exemplary school system and to address areas where we can improve for the betterment of our students. This new opportunity to promote our next generation—as well as those who have chosen to instruct the next generation—is something I am very much looking forward to.”

Following the oath of office, the board selected Curtis Rippee to serve as president for 2017-2018. Amy Dankel was chosen to serve as vice-president, and Stephanie O’Dell will continue in her current role as board secretary.

Rippee said that he looks forward to serving the community over the next four years and talked about some of the challenges on the horizon. "I feel very blessed and honored to have been re-elected to the board of trustees,” Rippee said. “I have enjoyed the last seven years on the board, and I look forward to continuing our efforts to make MISD one of the best school districts in Texas. The board and the district have benefited greatly from the service of Bobby Amick over the last six years. He is a man of great wisdom, insight and character, and he will certainly be missed.

“At the same time, we are excited to welcome Kenneth Ussery to the board and are looking forward to him using his unique talents and gifts for the benefit of the district and its students. Kenneth has a long history of involvement and service to MISD, and that knowledge and experience will be of great value to the district in the coming years,” he said.

“We are living in a very interesting time with the rapid advancement of technology. In the coming years, the district must adapt our content and methods to meet the needs of our students for their future. Education as we know it could change significantly over the next five to ten years. The board and district must be prepared for these changes so that we can continue to provide our students with an education that is both relevant and effective.”

For additional information on McKinney ISD, contact Shane Mauldin, MISD Communications Coordinator, at 469-302-4007 or smauldin@mckinneyisd.net.