Bold leadership: Rabold impact schools with Board of Ed.

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After more than 40 years in education, retirement was a bit of a bore. Through stints teaching and in administration, Roy Rabold found a passion for helping students and his community thrive. He continues that work representing District 2 on the Fayette County Board of Education.

Rabold could have followed his father into blue collar work, but his mother had other ideas.

“That was the way I was going to go except I was the first born, and so my mom decided that I was going to go to college,” he remembered. “It was kinda the expectation that I would always do well in school.”

An 8th grade English assignment helped push him forward. Asked to write a paper about 3 possible occupations, he listed all blue collar jobs. He was asked to do it again, but with the idea he was going to college. He liked history so his teacher said, “Use that. Use that to go to college.”

In college as a history major, his counselor presented him with four ways to use that degree: go to law school, work in a museum, become a teacher, or be an archaeologist. Archaeologist was the plan, but by his senior year he saw teaching was the more realistic option. He already knew he liked working with kids from his involvement in coaching sports, so he minored in education. As he went through the teacher education program, it came together.

“It was like the light went on,” he said. “This is it. This is what I want to do.”

He followed his passion for history into becoming a social studies teacher. It all goes back to a love instilled in him by his father who would take the family to historical sites like Gettysburg and Valley Forge.

“He would always take us to historical places, and it always fascinated me.”

He loved reading about the men that influenced our country, and he still finds inspiration in people like General George Patton. Patton was a no-nonsense type who was straight with people and protected his integrity.

Rabold embodied that as a principal at both Sandy Creek and Whitewater High. He subscribed to the belief that teachers have the most impact on the success of the kids, and the principal has the most impact on the success of the school.

“You think you know what the principal does but you don’t until you become the principal,” he said. “For me, it was a lot of pressure being the principal because I wanted my school to be successful, because I wanted all the kids in my school to be successful, and I wanted the teachers to be successful.”

He put in the time, with 65-75 hours a week typical. It was rewarding though, seeing his schools succeed academically, athletically, and all-around.

After more than 40 years teaching and in school administration, he retired. During that first year he started getting bored. One of his old colleagues was moving and leaving the Board of Education, and she suggested he run for her seat.

“I thought I spent 42 years in education and now I’m just going to stop and not be involved?”

Together, the Board of Education has three priorities: Success of students, the budget, and choosing a good superintendent. Though they only meet twice a month, Rabold said he probably puts in 30 hours a month between preparing for meetings, staying up to date on pressing issues, and keeping in touch with key players. Most importantly, the Board works together to do what is best.

“We do it as a team,” he said. “We don’t always vote 5-0, but we agree to disagree, and we’re professional about it.”

The biggest reward in all his roles has always been knowing he made a difference. Students maybe didn’t always like him in the moment, but came to realize he wanted what was best for them.

“I do this because I care about kids. I wouldn’t have been involved in education for 42 years if I didn’t care about kids,” he said. “I want the kids to be successful so they can keep our community successful.”

 

“The Honor Role,” an official podcast for Fayette County Public Schools, features employees, rotating through key stakeholders, including teachers, staff, nurses, custodians, cafeteria workers, and bus drivers. Join us as we dive in and learn about their journeys, their inspirations, and their whys.

Episodes are available on all major podcast platforms, including Spotify and Apple Podcasts, and promoted on the social media channels of Fayette County Public Schools.

Episodes will also be available here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/2200811.