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Bazzle fine with election delivered like 'a 2x4 to the head'

Ervin Bazzle Ervin Bazzle

The Henderson County School Board honored two colleagues Monday night who were serving in their last board meeting — longtime Chair Ervin Bazzle and first-term member Josh Houston.

Bazzle, who finished seventh in the eight-candidate contest for four School Board seats, told the board and audience that he accepted the will of the voters even if it was delivered by “a 2x4 to the head."

Houston came in fifth. Challengers Blair Craven and Michael Absher, both products of Henderson County schools, won seats while incumbents Mary Louise Corn and Rick Wood won re-election.
Corn, the top vote getter in the School Board election, praised Houston for his “thoughtful reserved comments” that were often eye-opening.
“We might not have always agreed but there was always the respect and thought- provoking things that Josh brought to the table,” she said.
She thanked Bazzle for “your steady guiding hand that you’ve given us for 16 years. You let us talk. You’ve given us that model so that we trust each other and trust how you have led us. You always bring us back to that guiding principal of what is best for our county and the kids that we serve.”
“I want to add how privileged it’s been to work with Josh and Baz,” Wood said. “I thank them for their service. You’re going to be missed.”
Colby Coren said that before the meeting he had been talking with administrator Jan King, a former teacher and principal, about Bazzle’s departure from the board.
“We didn’t remember Henderson County public schools without chairman Bazzle,” Coren said. He got emotional when he recalled Bazzle’s encouragement to him, when he was a high school senior in 2003, “to come back and be a part of Henderson County.”
JoshHoustonJosh HoustonAmy Lynn Holt also dabbed tears as she described getting to know Houston.
“He’s such a teddy bear,” she said.
She thanked Bazzle for “your leadership, your example to us. It’s going to be so hard to look over and not see sort of how to act.”
Former board member Melissa Maurer stood at the lectern during the public comment period to praise and thank the departing members.
“He’s never missed a meeting in 20 years I don’t think,” she said of Bazzle, who served as chair for 16 years. “Maybe one, and I think he was almost dead that night. But he did miss his anniversary four times in 20 years.”
Bazzle was chair when the board hired five schools superintendents — Frank Yeager, Tom Burnham, Stephen Page, David Jones and Bo Caldwell — weathered political fights with the Board of Commissioners over funding, helped find a path to detente and presided over an unprecedented run of new school construction.
“It’s been a privilege for me to serve you about a third of my life,” Bazzle told his colleagues, administrators and the audience. “It’s been a labor that we have enjoyed. I told someone this week that when a voice in your head starts talking to you and it’s not your wife and it tells you it’s time to move on, listen. I grew up on a farm so I know what a 2x4 to the head is. Sometimes, you have to be told that way.
“I am personally fine with the decision the county made” in the Nov. 8 election, he said. “The two people that are sitting in front of me (Craven and Absher) are well qualified to do this job and I feel they will, because I know where you live. I have no regrets. It’s been a pleasure.”