The end of an era in the Vinton County Local School District came during the regular Board of Education meeting Monday night, Nov. 15, when two long-serving board members may have attended their final meetings as longtime members.

Both Jeff Thacker, with 29 years of service, and Tom McManis with 16 years of service, chose not to run for re-election 2021. They will be replaced by board members-elect Scarlet Newton and Laura Martin on Jan. 11, 2022, when both a tax-budget and regular meeting are set to occur. Their current terms officially expire at the end of the calendar year. However, no Board meetings are scheduled to be held in December.

Superintendent of School Rick Brooks took some time to thank both men for their dedication to the school district and for the progress made during their respective tenures.

“We are appreciative of the giving of your time and energy to the school district and to the students,” said Brooks.

Thacker, who has a financial and mechanical background, joined the board in 1992 at a time when the county was desperately needing a high school. He turned into an effective leader, serving as President for many of those years. Back then, Superintendent Dr. James Pack, the board, and community members put together a campaign. As time went on, their efforts were aided by national, regional, and local media outlets, a famous Kentucky judge, and education experts from all over America. The county voters passed a bond issue in 1997 and a new high school opened in 2000.

Later, under a school building second chance bill sponsored by then State Senator John Carey, the voters passed a second levy, and the middle and elementary schools were built. Thacker also dealt with the pandemic and has been the radio voice of Vikings football and basketball for 30 years. He will continue to be a member on the Gallia-Jackson-Vinton Joint Vocational Board.

McManis came on the board in 2006, when the middle and elementary schools were under construction. He was involved in many key decisions as the new schools got underway. He has led the Board for the past three years and had to deal with a multitude of issues pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes in 2019-20 include closing the schools, canceling sports (and later amending that policy when limited attendance was reinstated) and reshaping the graduation ceremony. McManis also has a financial and photography background.

McManis told The Telegram he is “very grateful to the voters for their trust over the past 16 years” and that he “always voted for the best interest of the students and what he thought was right.” He also often gave up a lot of his free time to stay after meetings and answer questions about board policy with members of the public.

The tenures of these board members will end Dec. 31, but as Superintendent Brooks said, “Their contributions will always be remembered.”