Gary Ailes stepped up to the school board 12 years ago because he wanted to see a change in the district. Three superintendents and three new schools later, Ailes stepped down.
"The whole district has changed a lot," Ailes said. "The teachers' unions, the administration and the board all work together better than they used to."
Ailes, a veterinarian of 26 years, bid farewell to fellow board members and district officials at Tuesday's meeting.
"I feel two things," Ailes said. "One, it feels good to have the extra time. The other is that it feels kind of empty."
The board will seem kind of empty without Ailes.
"You have been such an asset to the children in this town," Superintendent Jim Parry told Ailes. "I will never forget you and I hope the folks in this town remember what you have given."
Parry presented Ailes with a variety of gifts, including a wooden owl - the Native American symbol of wisdom.
"You have shown tremendous wisdom," Parry said. "I've seen you use the power of your thoughts to make things better for the children."
Ailes accepted the gifts with an explanation of how he gained his wisdom.
"Wisdom usually comes from experience and experience comes from judgment," Ailes told the board. "Judgment usually comes from mistakes. It's a full circle."
Ailes said when he first became a trustee, teachers demonstrated during meetings to show their distaste for the board and its decision.
"There was a lot of dissension and strife in the district," he said.
Ailes said the district turned around under the leadership of former superintendent Bob Scott and added that Parry continued that process of improvement.
"The shift over to Jim happened at the right time," Ailes said. "He took the district in another direction to help the district change and education has to change."
That's why Ailes decided not to seek another term in this year's election.
"After the same fashion, it's time for me to move on and it's time for there to be a change," he said.
Ailes has plenty to keep him busy.
In addition to the demands of his veterinary practice, being a husband and father of three, Ailes also travels the globe as a trainer for Tony Robbins, a world-renowned motivational speaker.
"I do it because of the really incredible changes I see people make in their lives," he said. "It's good to help them make the shifts they need to make to get on with their life and really enjoy it."
He will also have more time to dedicate to work.
"I can't tell you how many spayings and neuterings he must have missed by helping us," Parry said.
Parry also presented Ailes with a drawing of Ailes watching a football game because of Ailes faithful attendance at games.