Staff, community, and Board members of Hemet Unified gathered in the Governing Board Room to celebrate the retirement of Board Trustee Marilyn Forst. Tuesday, November 1st, was Mrs. Forst’s last Board meeting after serving the district for 50 years.
Marilyn Forst was hired as a teacher at Hemet Elementary School in 1965. Over the years she held various teaching positions at the historic school. In 1998 she retired as a teacher and began serving as a Board member until 2006. Mrs. Forst took a two-year break from her position on the Board and returned in 2008 and served until November 1st, 2016.
A celebration was held for Marilyn in the Board Room at the District Office prior to the regular scheduled Board meeting. Former co-workers and Superintendents joined family members, Board members, and current HUSD employees to thank Marilyn for her service to the district. Superintendent Christi Barrett thanked Marilyn for always putting students first when making a decision and for the impact she has made on the district. After thanking Marilyn she invited retired Hemet Unified School District employee, Ted Smith, to speak.
Ted Smith took the podium and thanked Marilyn for her dedication to Hemet Unified. Mr. Smith had worked with Marilyn during her last five years as a teacher and while she served as a Board member. He told the audience, “She believed in the potential and value of each child, in providing a classroom environment that was firm yet caring, and promoting a love of reading and learning.”
Dr. Phil Pendley took the stage next to describe his first encounter with Marilyn. He described his interview to be the next Superintendent of Hemet Unified. He had made a comment about elementary education that made her gasp. Dr. Pendley joked that he was going home to pack up because he thought he wouldn’t get the job. He said the other Board members must have convinced Marilyn to give him a chance. He then addressed Marilyn and said he was thankful she gave him the opportunity to be a part of the Hemet community and for being his friend. “You are a once in a lifetime gift to this community, so thank you for all you have done.”
The most recent former Superintendent Dr. Barry L. Kayrell joined Marilyn at the podium to thank her for welcoming him when he joined Hemet Unified. He said the first school event he attended he felt like an outsider because he only knew a couple people, but Marilyn and her husband befriended Dr. Kayrell and his wife. He said after talking the two couples found out they had a lot in common. He said it truly meant a lot that the first time he had a chance to meet her, that she took the time to get to know him as a person. He continued to say what an asset she was when Hemet Elementary had to be taken down. Many community members did not want the historic school to close, and due to Marilyn’s support she was able to convince people that they could close it and rebuild the school. During the last meeting before Hemet Elementary was taken down, she asked if she could take one last time to walk through it. Dr. Kayrell recalls her walking through the buildings and telling him stories about every nook and cranny of the buildings and the significance they had to her.
Current Board Member Joe Wojcik took the microphone to express his gratitude to Marilyn. Joe and Marilyn have been serving on the Board together for eight years. He said it’s been a pleasure serving on the Board because of people like Marilyn. He expressed he knew week in and week out he knew how Marilyn would vote on the majority of the issues. “It was always kids first and Hemet Elementary second.” He told her that her shoes will be hard to fill and she will be sorely missed.
Current Board President, Jim Smith, presented Marilyn with gifts for her 50 years of service to Hemet USD. She was given flowers and an engraved crystal box. He also expressed how fortunate he considered himself to work with her. At the conclusion of the Governing Board meeting, Mr. Smith asked if Marilyn would hit the gavel to signal the end of her last board meeting.
Thank you Marilyn Forst for your 50 years of dedicated service. Hemet Unified School District students and staff have benefited from your compassion and knowledge. We wish you the best in your retirement and will be thinking of you as we open Hemet Elementary School next school year.