Bob and Donna Gibson celebrate his award for school board service in October 2014. More photos…
Questar III BOCES Board President Robert “Bob” Gibson passed away on July 3.
Questar III District Superintendent Dr. Gladys I. Cruz said the region lost an extraordinary person who cared deeply about students and public education.
“I am deeply saddened by Bob’s passing. His leadership touched every part of our organization, from his steady influence as board president to his attendance at our opening day program, where he enthusiastically welcomed back our staff each year. He led by example and set a high bar for all of us. He was truly the type of school board leader that every child and school community deserves. We will miss him,” Cruz said.
Gibson’s work as a school board leader extended across each of the three counties Questar III serves (and beyond). In fact, so too did his life.
He grew up in Columbia County, graduating from Germantown CSD and spent summers working in Greene Country during his college years. He later settled in Brunswick with his wife Donna, where they raised their son, Brent.
Gibson works with students at Tech Valley High School.
Gibson dedicated his life to public service and community involvement. He was first elected to the Questar III Board in 1993 and served as its president since July 2001. He was also a founding member of the Tech Valley High School Operating Board, serving from its inception in 2006.
Prior to this he served on the Brunswick CSD Board from 1980 and 1989, including eight years as president.
More than 20 years ago, Gibson and his colleagues supported Questar III through its first-ever strategic planning process – a process and product that still defines its work today.
During this time Rensselaer-Columbia-Greene BOCES adopted the name Questar III – the first of several BOCES statewide to undergo a rebranding process. The name change reflected an evolution in the organization’s mission and role. This is where Questar III forever changed its course – by focusing on its core mission of serving districts and involving superintendents and others in our decision-making.
Through Gibson’s leadership this work has continued under four different District Superintendents – to focus on unleashing the power of the cooperative by doing together what may be difficult, if not impossible, to do alone – and to drive resources closer to students and points of services.
Gibson, Board Member Carol Orvis, Times Union Editor Rex Smith and former District Superintendent Jim Baldwin celebrate Questar III’s Top Workplace Award in 2013.
Most recently, this included the implementation of the Regents Reform Agenda and the expansion of services statewide. Moreover, he helped the BOCES address financial challenges, draft and adopt policies and expand relationships with component school boards.
Gibson was also well-known across our region and state for his boundless enthusiasm and passion for public education. He frequently presented workshops on parliamentary procedures for new school board members.
He also regularly attended the annual NYSSBA convention, where he served as a delegate to the annual business meeting.
At last fall’s convention NYSSBA recognized Gibson with its Everett R. Dyer Award for Distinguished School Board Service, the organization’s highest top award for school board service.
Gibson often traveled to Washington, DC to advocate on behalf of NYSSBA with one-on-one meetings with state and national leaders.
Gibson’s remarks at Questar III’s opening day program were always entertaining, engaging and uplifting, setting a positive tone for the start of school in addition to reminding staff about the power of the cooperative.
His lifelong dedication to public education is perhaps best described in a letter he sent to local school board members on April 18, 1998 (when he was running for reelection to the BOCES board). He wrote:
“Education is my life. It is in my background, it is my work, and it is a significant part of my volunteer work. I strongly believe that education is a lifelong activity that never ends. Our challenge today is not only to prepare our young people for this lifelong learning, but to develop in them an excitement for learning and a willingness to apply what they have learned in new ways.”
That excitement and passion drove Gibson as a school board member and advocate for children until the day he died.
Those wishing to remember Bob Gibson in a special way may make memorial contributions in his name to, Faith Lutheran Church, 50 Leversee Rd., Troy, NY 12182.
NYSSBA story about Gibson:
Question & Answer with Gibson (Dec. 2012):