Larry Morgan Put the "Partner" in Partnership
The terrible accident that took Larry Morgan's life last week did more than remove a renowned teacher, administrator and former county superintendent from the ranks of Stark County's educators, it also took one of the pillars of the Stark Education Partnership (SEP).
Morgan was known for shunning public recognition and often worked behind the scenes. Yet, for two decades his willingness to provide advice, staff time and resources to help plan and implement partnership initiatives insured their success. Nowhere is this better seen than in key strategies such as P-16, math and science education and in the growth of dual credit.
In 2001, when SEP leaders were preparing to launch the state's first preschool through college (P-16) compact, Morgan lent the services of Stark County Educational Service Center (SCESC) Assistant Superintendents Bill Mease and Mel Lioi to help plan the compact. This high-level involvement created district buy-in from day one.
Along with SEP, Morgan also furthered math and science education. Building on a $3 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, SEEDS received one of NSF's three Math and Science Partnership grants for $7.5 million in 2003 - a major partnership which involved all the districts and colleges. SCESC staff Jane Hazen Dessecker and Mike Bayer served in the critical role of Principal Investigators.
In 2006 when most Ohio colleges were seeking only top high school students to enroll in dual credit, Morgan made dual credit a county-wide priority by having SCESC staff negotiate Memoranda of Intent with all local higher education institutions and Stark's school districts. That effort greatly expanded participation. The result guaranteed that Stark County would become second to only Cuyahoga County in the number of high school students taking dual credit courses. Last year alone, 7,000 enrollments resulted in over 20,000 college credits earned saving students and their families millions in tuition.
The list could go on. It should be noted that these three programs became not only state, but national models. The "why" was Larry Morgan who never lost sight of the "partner" in Partnership. SEP and SCESC still remain two parts of an equation for these and many other initiatives that results in a better education for the students of Stark County. Thank you, Larry.