ROYAL OAK — After passing out many Community of Excellence awards, Shawn Lewis-Lakin received one of his own during a surprise presentation at the June 8 Royal Oak Schools Board of Education meeting.
Board of Education President Deb Anderson presented the award with former Board of Education member Lisa Bradford at the beginning of the meeting.
Anderson said she hoped it would truly be a surprise and a fitting way to honor the outgoing superintendent “for six years of dedication and service to the Royal Oak school community and the students who benefitted from his leadership through the years.”
Lewis-Lakin’s last day on the job will be June 30, one day before he steps into his new role as senior associate pastor of Birmingham First United Methodist Church .
“We appreciate all you have done for our students, our staff and our community,” Anderson said.
While honoring Lewis-Lakin, Bradford read a quote by Matthew Kelly stating, “Leaders don’t just lead people to do things, they lead them to do the right things.”
“Thank you, Shawn, for being a community leader that continues to show us that the right things always involve what is best for the students of Royal Oak, and in doing so, unites us all,” she said.
Bradford quipped that since she is no longer on the board and no longer had to be impartial, she could openly say he was by far her favorite superintendent.
Royal Oak Schools Board of Education Vice President Gary Briggs said Lewis-Lakin was the third superintendent he has worked with while serving on the board.
“He’s done a fantastic job,” Briggs said, describing Lewis-Lakin as a top-notch, fair administrator. “He’s done a great job for this district.”
Briggs said Lewis-Lakin’s ability to see the board’s vision, improve upon test scores, upgrade buildings, hire teachers and settle contracts were just some of the highlights.
Royal Oak Schools Board of Education Trustee Allison Sykes said that Lewis-Lakin has done great things for the community, including being involved in many of the city’s nonprofit organizations and groups.
“It all ties to the school district, and it was above and beyond his call of duty,” she said.
Former board member Kathy Howell attended the June 8 meeting to seek approval for Buddy Benches that she and her husband are donating to the elementary buildings. Howell said she is dedicating the benches in part to Lewis-Lakin, who she said embodies the principles behind the special seats.
“He has done a yeoman’s job of leading our school district,” she said.
Lewis-Lakin expressed his thanks for the award and to the board members.
“Thank you for this. Thank you for all that you have done for the past six years. It has been a pleasure working with you and an honor to serve here in Royal Oak,” he said. “I have truly been humbled by the trust you have placed in me, and I am proud of the work we have done together.”