Leonard Posey, longtime Morris District board member, honored at Morristown council meeting

Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty, left, issued a proclamation to Leonard Posey, who served 17 years on the Morris School District board. Oct. 22, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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Leonard Posey, who stepped down last month from the Morris School District board, was honored at Tuesday’s Morristown council meeting for 17 years of service to the regional system.

Recently retired from a global consulting firm, Posey is moving to Miami, closer to six of his seven grandchildren.

Mayor Tim Dougherty praised the Morris Township resident’s “professionalism, dedication and service to the community” in proclaiming Tuesday as Leonard Posey Day in Morristown.

Leonard Posey addresses Morristown council on ‘Leonard Posey Day,’ Oct. 22, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

“I will miss Morristown. And I’ll miss you, Tim,” said Posey, a graduate of Eastern Michigan University who moved from Michigan to Morristown 26 years ago.

Because of Posey’s contacts and knowledge of the local scene, Dougherty said he sought his advice in the 1990s before running for office.

“Everybody said, ‘Talk to Leonard’ … he had a lot of insights into what it takes” to serve, the mayor said.

While some school district officials frowned on rubbing elbows with town officials, Posey said, he considered it healthy to foster good communications.

“It’s not easy being an elected official,” said the former school board president.

Alan Smith ,Morris Township candidate for the Morris School District board, at League of Women Voters forum, Oct. 16, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Alan Smith of Morris Township has been appointed to serve Leonard Posey’s unexpired term on the Morris School District board. He is pictured here at a League of Women Voters forum, Oct. 16, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

The board has appointed Alan Smith to fill the remainder of Posey’s term, which runs until Dec. 31, 2020. Smith, who works in human resources for a startup, ran for the board last year but did not win.

During that three-way race for two Morris Township seats (won by incumbent Ann Rhines and newcomer Linda Murphy), Smith said he would host town hall meetings to solicit feedback and “demystify” the board, if elected.

Established by court order in 1971, the K-12 Morris School District serves 5,200 students from Morristown, Morris Township and (high school only) Morris Plains. Its budget last year was about $117 million.

Posey had two tours of duty with the district board: 1997-2006, and 2011-2019. Asked for highlights, he told Morristown Green he is proud of his advocacy for academic achievements of minority students, and for the district’s improving test scores even as it tackles the challenge of educating immigrants who arrive here without much prior schooling.

Board President Leonard Posey, left, and Salutatorian Isabelle Augensen at MHS graduation, June 22, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Board President Leonard Posey, left, and Salutatorian Isabelle Augensen at MHS graduation, June 22, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

And he is proud of the district’s fiscal prudence.

“Now we have no debt,” said Posey, who continues to consult for his former company. “It’s a great school district.”

Posey also offered kudos to Morristown firefighters and police for extricating his daughter Dana from a car wreck that paralyzed her five years ago.

“Without the fire and police coming to the rescue, we might not have her here today,” Posey said.

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