Fox’s Service to WOCSD Honored with Tree Dedication

Post date: Jun 06, 2014 2:54:24 PM

On June 3rd, former Wells-Ogunquit CSD School Committee member and past Chairperson Russ Fox was honored for service to the WOCSD with the dedication of a European Beech tree on the front lawn of the Superintendent’s office in Wells.

The tree was planted last fall adjacent to the office of the District’s Superintendent on Route 1 in Wells.

Fox, whose two decades of service on the School Committee ended in June of 2013, has been battling esophageal cancer since last summer.

Superintendent Ellen Schneider, School Committee Chairperson Marc Saulnier, and an assortment of District staff were on hand for the brief dedication ceremony Tuesday morning.

“I want to thank you for being a mentor even though you told me it (School Committee) was only going to be three meetings a month,” joked Chairperson Saulnier with Fox. “On behalf of the entire District I want to thank you for setting an example, taking your responsibility so seriously and always putting the kids first.”

“It is an honor to recognize the years of service that Russ Fox has given to the Wells-Ogunquit School District,” commented Superintendent Schneider after the tree dedication. “His twenty years of commitment as a member of the School Committee and as Chairperson has had, and will continue to have, a lasting positive impact on our school system and is a testimony to his dedication to WOCSD.”

WJHS Librarian and Teacher Association President Lynn Mercier was one of the staff at the tree dedication. “Russ Fox is a great supporter of education and a tremendous friend to the community,” commented Mercier. “I enjoyed working with Russ. He is a very hard-working individual who always put students first. It has been an honor to work with him on the many educational issues over the past twenty years.”

The plaque placed beside the tree reads, “The WOCSD School Committee dedicates this tree to: Russell P. Fox for his many years of dedicated service 2014”. Fox served the Committee as Chairperson three times and Treasurer for multiple years. Fox said that he worked with six WOCSD superintendents in the past twenty years.

In an earlier interview, Fox said that it was “curiosity about how the board was run and the duties of it” that originally motivated him in running for a seat on the School Committee. “I kind of enjoyed it and I just kept running,” he said. Fox believes that his greatest contributions to the Committee was during the planning and construction phases of the new Wells Elementary School and renovation of Wells Junior High School in the early to mid-2000’s.

Fox believes the challenges that lie ahead for the School Committee revolve around the upcoming renovation of Wells High School and the declining trend in student population.

Fox, whose four children were educated in the Wells schools, also served on the Wells Recreation Commission for five years. He indicated that he was a “big” supporter of Little League when his children were younger and added that he is a former member of Wells Rotary.

In an interview following the tree dedication, Fox expressed gratitude for the support he has received from family, friends and other community members since his cancer diagnosis. And he expressed admiration for all of those who routinely give their time running and riding bikes to raise money in support of cancer research.

Fox is steadfastly optimistic about his fight to survive cancer. “I will beat it,” he said without hesitation. “You know it’s just a matter of time. It’s going to be a long haul.”

Photo Caption: Russ Fox and a European Beech tree planted in honor of his service on the Wells-Ogunquit CSD School Committee.