BY EMILY GUEVARA, firstname.lastname@example.org
In a ceremony that included laughter, tears and praise, Tyler ISD bid farewell to its superintendent, Gary Mooring.
Mooring, 64, announced his resignation, which is effective June 30, in April. He cited ongoing health issues associated with Type 2 diabetes as the reason for his decision.
The reception, held Tuesday at the Jim Plyler Instructional Complex, brought together district and campus administrators, as well as community leaders and residents who wanted to thank Mooring for his service.
Board President the Rev. Orenthia Mason said Mooring has led the district through insurmountable tasks with a smile on his face and joy in his heart.
“What a beautiful spirit; what an awesome gentleman,” the Rev. Mason said. “God knew what we needed, and God sent you to us.”
Mayor Martin Heines presented a proclamation declaring June 3, 2014, “Gary Mooring Appreciation Day in the city of Tyler.”
In his proclamation, Heines praised the outgoing superintendent for his dedication to positively influence others.
Mooring increased the morale of school district employees, led the district through the passage of a $160.5 million bond election to create 21st century schools and united community members and district officials in the creation of a strategic plan, Heines said.
He described him as a man of humility with a genuine personality and leadership ability.
Kim Tunnell, TISD’s chief leadership and performance officer, spoke on behalf of the district staff.
“What he has done has been a role model for all of us, and an example of what true leadership is about,” she said.
Using 1 Corinthians 13 from the Bible, she described love as patient and kind, not envious, not boastful and not proud. It always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres.
She said everyone who has worked with Mooring during the past years would agree that his name is interchangeable with the word love. Instead of being the chief executive officer of the organization, he is the chief encouragement officer, she said.
“He’s definitely lifted our entire organization, and his main focus is to develop leaders in all of us,” she said.
After Ms. Tunnell spoke, a farewell video was played for Mooring. The video featured photos and video of Mooring throughout his career.
The one that garnered the most laughs was a video of him dancing to “Ice Ice Baby” with five students at a school assembly during his time as a Jacksonville ISD principal.
With his cap worn backward on his head and sunglasses on, he performed the role of rapper Vanilla Ice, holding his own on the dance steps as the students showed off their moves.
“Got some hidden talents there do we,” the Rev. Mason joked after the video ended. “We didn’t know about those.”
District 3 trustee Jean Washington said she has grown to respect Mooring during her few months on the board. She described him as sincere, responsible, energetic and considerate.
“You have made our schools and our community a better place in which to work and live,” she said. “You are passionate about the sharing of your time and talents as well as compassionate of those that are the recipients of your gifts.”
District 1 trustee Wade Washmon said the superintendent’s last name, Mooring, embodies what he has been for TISD.
A mooring is a permanent structure to which a boat or ship can be secured. In the same way, Mooring with his consistent leadership and kind nature has been a person to whom the school district personnel and community members can depend on, Washmon said.
“People tend to cling to and appreciate consistent people,” Washmon said.
Mooring’s way of building relationships with people has helped to rebuild trust in the school district and community.
Washmon said Mooring’s spirit is a gift from his heavenly father.
“God is obviously your mooring,” Washmon said, adding the nautical blessing of “fair winds and following seas” for the superintendent in his retirement.
The board members presented Mooring with a glass award recognizing his service to the district.
Mooring joked that after all the nice things that were said about him, he would have to reintroduce himself to his mother and sister, who along with his wife, were in attendance.
“What a wonderful, wonderful treat this was,” he said. “What a wonderful staff Tyler ISD has.”
He said this community is wonderful and praised the many individuals who have given of their time and talents to volunteer in the district or support it in other ways.
“This has been so special and I’m gonna miss Tyler ISD so much,” he said. “I have so many mixed feelings about leaving.”