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story.lead_photo.caption Fulton Public Schools Board of Education member Verdis Lee, center, at a February 2020 meeting. Photo by File photo

After five years, Fulton Public Schools Board of Education member Verdis Lee, Sr. plans to step down in June.

"I'm leaving now because we're in a great space," Lee said.

Lee pointed to the passage of Proposition K in 2018 and Proposition S in 2020 as recent board achievements and praised the work of former superintendent Jacque Cowherd to improve the district's financial situation. Prop K brought more social workers into schools, while Prop S is currently helping fund district-wide facility, technology and security improvements.

"A personal achievement that I put my whole heart into was getting the Fulton Middle School gymnasium renamed after Carl Lee," he said. "It was the greatest sense of achievement that I felt because he was a great man and to have his name and to honor him as he should have been honored years ago."

A Fulton native, Carl Lee was a coach at FMS until his retirement in 1994.

"He helped mentor me and I want to be just like him," Lee said.

Lee said he was first inspired to run out of a sense the school board at the time was out of touch with the community and that some members were overly interested in status.

He believes today's board is more visible in the community.

As a self-described "people-person," Lee said he saw his role on the board as helping to communicate with the community, listening to what people have to say and explaining the needs of the schools.

"Advocating for Prop K to bring in social workers, that was a huge one for me," he said. "We put students and our community in a position to win, not just going with the status quo."

When Lee steps down, the board will appoint a replacement to finish out his term.

In regards to his future plans, Lee said he has been appointed to the Callaway County Jail Board of Visitors.

"I'll be around," he said. "I'm not going anywhere. I will be fighting for what's right. I will be in the community. Period."

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