In recognition of her decade of service on Putnam City’s school board, I decided we should learn a little about Cindy Gibbs. Few recall that these positions are volunteer, and that the people who serve in them have personal and passionate reasons for being a part of Putnam City in this unique way. Cindy’s comments reveal those facts. – Jennifer Seal
It was August of 1993 when my oldest child was starting kindergarten at Wiley Post elementary that I first started volunteering in a Putnam City school. Knowing the importance of being involved with your children and their education was a driving factor, but also volunteering was and is a passion of mine. I have always felt a sense of fulfillment when I give my time to help others. That first volunteering experience catapulted me into a 28 year journey of volunteering and service at Wiley Post, Hefner Middle School, Putnam City North, the Putnam City PTA Council and ultimately the Putnam City School Board. What a journey it has been! My decade of service on the school board has allowed me an opportunity to play a role in impacting the lives of thousands of students, graduates and future students, while also impacting myself.
With a goal of Putnam City Schools becoming a district that our alumni would chose to return to for the education of their children and one that would be known for its educational opportunities and excellent facilities, our school board has made decisions during the past ten years that have and continue to make strides in reaching those goals.
Today, I know of alumni that have chosen to purchase homes in our district so that their children will be able to receive a quality education in the Putnam City district, just as they did. Together, Dr. Rhodes and the board outlined technology and facilities bond proposals preparing our district for the future. These bonds enabled our district to have technology devices making us a 1 to 1 district, which was a blessing during the pandemic distance learning. Other districts were scrambling to have enough devices for their students during that same time. Storm shelters have been constructed at many schools with others currently in process or will be soon allowing the safety of our students and employees to be a top priority during stormy weather. Athletic facilities have received needed updates. Stadiums have been built at PCN and PCW allowing those locations to host their feeder school events building a sense of community and pride. New graduation traditions are on the horizon as these new facilities host graduation events. The PC High gymnasium received an amazing renovation. Our oldest elementary and middle school buildings have been replaced with new facilities that enable education to be delivered in flexible ways that are the envy of other districts. Upcoming construction projects will continue to build a pathway for Putnam City excellence in the classroom. Our future as a district will continue to be impacted by the foundation laid during the past decade and I am proud to have played a role in preparation for excellence in our next 100 years as a district.
One of my favorite times as a board member would have to be graduation. While enjoying the special traditions of each high school, shaking hundreds of sweaty palms, I am always reminded of the uniqueness of our district. I love to see the diversity of our students, to hear the speeches and hear of their future plans, to witness the bond between our principals and students, to experience the pride of our families for their graduates, to realize that many of our students are the first to graduate high school from their family and to wonder which one our graduates will be a world changer. I always leave with a sense of gratitude that I get to be a part of something bigger than me.
When my daughter was in second grade, I received a cancer diagnosis that rocked our world. During that time, our school community became a second family for us. PTA friends and teachers helped with child care during my treatments, prepared meals for us and much like our church family, they covered us with prayer. Putnam City will always be home and I am honored and blessed to have been a part of it all!
by Cindy Gibbs, Guest Blogger
April 22, 2021