His colleagues honored his last meeting at their regular session Tuesday evening by presenting him with a plaque of appreciation and a standing ovation.
“I want to make it clear that I’m not retiring; I’m just resigning from the board. Everything has its season, and, for me, it’s time to leave.”
Privately, the 61-year-old attorney says he had things he had to do and things he wanted to do, including pursuing his hobbies of oil painting and amateur archaeology.
His retirement was number 6F out of 21 items on a two-page agenda.
Beasley, who has practiced law in Beeville since 1973, used prepared notes on a piece of paper, appropriately legal-sized, to address both the board members and an audience of high school youngsters who had just received achievement awards.
Along with praising his long friendship with Trustee John Fish, he listed numerous disappointments and frustrations but also successes he has experienced during his tenure.
“I am frustrated that the high school has been rated as unacceptable. I know there are different circumstances, but everyone needs to play by the same rules; we need to do better.”
Turning to the students, he admonished them to realize, “You only get to be a sophomore or a junior for a short length of time. You get one opportunity to get involved with multiple activities.”
An opportunity, he stressed, of which teachers should be aware. They “need passion, but also need a sense of urgency.”
“Every time you have a successful program in the district, it is because a person of dedication and intensity has stepped up to lead it.”
To offset his criticism, Beasley praised the board members for their high standards.
He lashed out at the “competition that exists among BISD schools with other schools in the area,” saying that public funds “should not be used to bus students to Skidmore or Pettus.”
While it didn’t happen on his watch, Beasley predicted that economic pressures eventually will force the three districts to consolidate. “It’s just going to be too expensive for them to continue,” he said. “Eventually, that conversation is going to have to happen, because its going to be forced on us by the state.”
He also expressed frustration with his not being able to reward high-performing teachers any better than he was able to censure teachers whose work is unsatisfactory.
“The education system does not apply to private-sector practices. In the process, excellence is not fully recognized. I would like to pay bonuses to the better teachers, but I can’t.”
Turning back to the students, he asked them that, when they participate in activities, not only to identify themselves as A.C. Jones High School students, but as students from Beeville as well.
“I know we’re one of the smallest 4A schools, but we are what we are, and we should be proud of it.”
Beasley said that when he was elected in 2003, BISD was in good financial conditions. “But as I leave, BISD is in even better financial condition.”
Finally, he lauded Dr. Sue Thomas, the BISD superintendent.
“I saw her as someone willing to take risks.”
Turning once again to the teenagers in the audience, he told them, “when you come across people who are willing to take risks, value them — they are the people who get things done.”
Beasley also suggested the district should change a line in the alma mater, “when we are losing, we are winning too.” “When we are losing, we are losing, not winning,” he emphasized. “That line has bothered me since I was a young boy — it hasn’t improved with age.”
Finally, he paused for a moment and then told the board, “I’ve never mentioned this topic during my nine years on the board or to any administrator or fellow board members: as a point of personal privilege, the football field where the Trojans played was for many years called ‘Beasley Field,’ named for my grandfather — a state handball champ and UT baseball player. He was an outdoorsman, he opposed the Ku Klux Klan and worked tirelessly to help create the Padre Island National Seashore.”
Beasley suggested that the district should add the name of his grandfather to the stadium’s current name, Veterans Memorial Stadium.
“I think there is room for both.”
With that, he grabbed his plaque, his nameplate and notes, and asked the board, “Am I supposed to leave now?”
Board president Nick Cardenas immediately replied, “No!”
“But the Spurs are playing!” Beasley replied, stretching out his arms.
He then sat down until item 14, which called for the board officially to swear in his replacement, Darryl Martin, who received 63 percent of the votes May 12 in an election in which only about 4 percent of the eligible voters cast ballots.
His chair now occupied, Beasley gathered his plaque, nameplate and notes and exited the board room, stage left, in time to watch the Spurs trim the Los Angeles Clippers, 108-92, in the playoffs.
Bill Clough is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 122, or at beepic@mySouTex.com.