Novi Board of Education Bids Farewell to President Bagdady
Bruce Bagdady has retired from his position on the school board after finishing out this term.
It was an emotional night at the Novi Board of Education meeting Thursday as the district said goodbye to President Bruce Bagdady after 15 years of service.
Bagdady decided not to run for re-election this year, choosing to retire to spend more time with his grandchildren. Thursday was his last official meeting.
Bagdady was first elected to the board in 1998. He served as president of the board from 2002-2006 and 2011-2012. He lead the board during bond elections, administrative restructuring, an overhaul of student records and accounting systems, contract negotiations, and challenging budget decisions, among other issues.
Superintendent Dr. Steve Matthews presented Bagdady with a tribute from the state of Michigan for his commitment to education, which was signed by Rep. Hugh Crawford, Senator Mike Kowall and Gov. Rick Snyder.
The district also gave Bagdady a plaque with a gavel on it, representing the district's appreciation for his leadership as president. Bagdady also received the traditional gift of a commemorative lamp in recognition of his service.
Bagdady said he has had many treasured moments while serving on the board.
He also added that it was a pleasure to work with everyone in the district, and that he will miss serving on the board.
"I will absolutely miss the way people feel about education here ... just how everyone cares so much about doing what's right for the kids. That's got to stay. You guys cannot let that go away, and I know you won't," he said.
All of the board members and several community leaders spoke at the meeting, thanking Bagdady for his service. This is what they had to say:
Treasurer Ann Glubzinski:
Glubzinski thanked Bagdady for his leadership, professionalism, patience and wisdom.
"You demonstrated what it means to be a public servant," she said.
She also encouraged Bagdady not to be a stranger.
Trustee Shari Lebo:
Lebo said she was honored to serve with Bagdady.
"One of the things I admire most is that you lead by example," she said.
She also said she admires his ability to look at an issue from all sides and listen to all of the trustees' points of view.
Secretary Bobbie Murphy:
Murphy said Bagdady taught her a lot about service and integrity.
"Things have not been easy on the board, and I think you demonstrated to all of us just tremendous patience and a true sense of what our purpose is," she said.
She said that he will be leaving a big hole on the board, and they will always think about what he would do in upcoming situations.
Vice President Dennis O'Connor:
"When I talk to people, the adjective that constantly comes to mind when you talk about your leadership — the word is integrity," he said.
O'Connor also said Bagdady brought a lot of value to the board with his decision-making process involving values, legality, ethics, accountability and integrity.
Trustee George Kortlandt:
"Of all the board members I've worked with, I can clearly say that you have the greatest intellect of any of them. You are capable of dealing with any issue that is put before the district," he said.
Kortlandt said he has been friends with Bagdady for a long time.
"I was going to say that I will miss you, but I think this district will miss you," he said.
Trustee Jason Manar:
Manar could not attend the meeting, but he video-chatted with Bagdady during the meeting, with Bagdady viewing it on a district iPad.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed your time on the board and your tutelage, your service, and your dedication. I've learned a great deal from you," he said.
Manar said words are not enough to express his gratitude for his service and what he has done for the school district.
Novi Mayor Pro-Tem Dave Staudt:
Staudt thanked Bagdady for his service to Novi on behalf of the mayor, city council and entire city administration.
"It's going to be tough for the school district to replace you," he said.
Novi Education Association President Tom Brenner:
Brenner could not attend the meeting, but he wrote in a letter, which was read by Murphy during the meeting.
Brenner thanked Bagdady for his service on behalf of the 400 members of the association and wished him well.
"I am well aware of the sincerity of your efforts and the dedication you've demonstrated to help make this school district a beacon for all other school districts in this country," he said.
Superintendent Dr. Steve Matthews:
Matthews said that Bagdady was the first person he spoke to in the district before he was hired and that he was grateful for bringing him into the district.
"I wish you the best Mr. Bagdady, and I look forward to seeing you in our community and at school events in the future," Matthews said.