Leaders out, leaders in
These last couple of weeks have seen a large turnover in the working leaders of Sallisaw. School Superintendent Scott Farmer resigned to take the same role at Fort Gibson and Chamber Executive Judy Martens is retiring at the end of the month.
In their places come Jeremy Jackson, a former principal at Warner Public Schools and Marty Green, a retired OSU Extension Agent in Stilwell and most recently a bank vice president.
The success and growth Sallisaw has enjoyed under Farmer’s and Martens’ tenure is easily seen and enjoyed. This past weekend’s Diamond Daze festival which utilized part of the grounds of the new Middle School. Neither the event nor the school existed before Martens and Farmer lead to their creation.
I said “working leaders” in my opening paragraph because that has been the hallmark of their tenure. Both could be seen in the middle of projects and events in their organizations. From Farmer setting forms for a new sidewalk around new playground equipment at Liberty Elementary School to Martens (and her family) at Diamond Daze all day making sure everything goes well.
Farmer came to Sallisaw 15 years ago as a math teacher then went on to be assistant principal, before being hired as superintendent six years ago. He led the passing of a school bond for new middle school and then brought the project in on time and under budget. With Sallisaw Public Schools having $1 million cut from its annual budget, Farmer’s equally great feat has been to maintain a high-quality education by making tough, but smart choices.
Martens arrived in Sallisaw 15 years ago also, when her husband, Ernie, became high school principal. The next summer in 2004 she was hired as chamber director. She doubled the number of chamber members and added three big annual events to its calendar. These events add to the quality of life in Sallisaw.
I will add that the City of Sallisaw’s hiring of Keith Skelton as city manager adds a third “working leader” who brings a ton of experience and knowledge about Sallisaw. After serving as assistant city manager for many years, Skelton should be able to apply his experience and knowledge to lead the city to more growth and prosperity.
Looking ahead, I hope Jackson and Green can build off the success Martens and Farmer have had. In these times it is difficult for a small community to get traction and grow. I believe our success rests with Sallisaw putting its best foot forward by investing in itself. After all, what new business wants to come to a place where its people will not invest in themselves?
When you see Jeremy Jackson, Marty Green and Keith Skelton out in town, wish them good luck and show them the support they need!