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Without leader, future of Boyle retired teachers group in question

As of 2015, there were 455 retired teachers in Boyle County, including Boyle County schools, Danville Independent schools, and Kentucky School for the Deaf retirees.

But the Boyle County Retired Teachers Association is currently without a leader, and finding one has been harder than imagined, making the future of the association uncertain.

“It’s been an issue for a number of years. The president before us had trouble, too,” said former co-president Pam Rogers.

Rogers and Paige Stevens stepped in to lead the group as co-presidents last year, when finding new leadership appeared impossible, but said they told the members at the time they could only serve one year.

“Last year, no one would take it. Pam and I did, and said one year. We couldn’t do multiple years,” Stevens said. “In the fall, we started saying someone needs to step up. We went through May and no one would step forward.”

Stevens teaches at the college level now and Rogers has family reasons that keep her from continuing. In any case, the women said they tried everything, from calling specific people, to sending out mass requests to all the members. Finally, they notified members via email and postal mail, notifying them of the situation and a potential plan to distribute the remaining funds the association has among the three local school districts. Then they started receiving questions about it.

“When no one stepped up last year, we cared enough to carry on for one year. We said we couldn’t do it past that,” Stevens said.

The position is only intended to be a one year term, she said, but in the past, presidents have ended up serving two or three years, largely due to a lack of interest in taking over.

While there is not currently a president, there are other members willing to serve in other roles on the committee, Stevens said.

Stevens, Rogers and other committee members contacted Bob Wagoner, executive director at the Kentucky Retired Teachers Association, for direction. He encouraged them to wait it out.

“Sometimes it takes folks a while to figure out, ‘Yea, I can do that,’ and be willing to step up and take on the leadership role,” Wagoner said.

The best option, Wagoner said, would be for someone else to step up and assume the role of president. If that doesn’t happen by the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2017, members will be given the option of joining an association in a neighboring county.

“This has only occurred once in the last 15 years. From time to time, things happen; you have to have a contingency plan,” Wagoner said. “They have a couple of months. Every group has its ups and downs with leadership; you have to give people time to think it through — 99 percent of the time, folks will step up and assume the leadership.”

There have been other places where two local groups have joined to form one, Wagoner said. That’s an option, as well.

“There are several options and there will be something available to any Boyle County RTA member that wishes to participate at the local level,” Wagoner said.

Follow Kendra Peek on Twitter, @knpeek.