School board president earns state award

— In 1836 the McGuffey Reader exploded on the scene as a must-have textbook for students.

One book soon became a series of seven books, complete with poems and stories that provided children with lessons in reading, grammar and character.

McGuffey Readers were valued not only for their extensive instruction in reading and writing, but for their attention to promoting good qualities in children as well.

Now, that same commitment to molding the hearts and minds of children can be found in veteran Hayden School Board member Kathy Hockin, other board members say.

Hockin, president of the school board, was recently recognized by the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) for her many years of service on the Hayden School Board.

She received the 2001 McGuffey Award, designed to acknowledge a school board member who demonstrates, with both the head and heart, a passion for the district and its students.

"She has been outstanding and really put in the time it takes," board member Troy Wertenberger said. "She has really sacrificed her lifestyle to make things happen."

Wertenberger and Hayden Superintended Scott Mader accepted the award on Hockin's behalf at an earlier CASB fall meeting.

They presented the award to Hockin at the board's meeting on Wednesday evening.

Hockin will be retiring from the board in a few weeks, after serving for 10 years.

Board Vice President Kelly Hayes, who is also retiring in November, said the leadership qualities that earned Hockin the McGuffey Award were present before she was ever named board president in 1996.

"She was a prime candidate right away," Hayes said. "She's been a leader even when she wasn't one in name."

Hayes said Hockin's tireless devotion of time and energy and insight into the district's needs warrants an honor like the McGuffey Award.

"She truly goes after what she believes and what her constituents believe," Hayes said. "That's to be commended."

For Hockin, the award caps off the end to what she considers a decade of doing what any public servant does serving.

"It's a nice way to go out," she said. "My husband and I have really lived our lives wanting to serve the community that gives so much to us."

Now that her children are out of the school system, Hockin said, it is time to hand over her board commitments to other people who have children in the district.

"I feel good about the people who are following my footsteps," she said. "I hope the community knows how lucky it is to have people like this who want to serve."

Serving on the board wasn't always easy, Hockin said, and she managed to ruffle a few feathers.

The last ten years, however, have been

"It's a labor of love," Hockin said. "It has to be something that really touches your heart, because no one can tell you to do it. You have to do it because you want to."

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