Thank you, Mary Kay Roth
Mary Kay Roth stood before a crowd of friends and family on Thursday at the Science Focus Program at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo, all of them there to celebrate her retirement after more than 20 years of passionate service to Lincoln Public Schools.
But in typical Roth form, she deflected the attention. Instead, she spoke about the cause that became her life’s work.
“Public education is alive and well and thriving in Lincoln, Nebraska, and it has been my privilege to be part of the Lincoln Public Schools story and part of the Lincoln Public Schools community,” Roth said.
Others, however, spoke about the privilege of working alongside Roth.
“What Mary Kay brings is heart and soul to her work,” said John Neal, associate superintendent for governmental relations and general administration. “And sometimes people think heart and soul means effort – and Mary Kay’s always had effort, there’s not a question about effort – but she also brought heart. Loving, caring, respect - really important tenets. She left that in each of those projects. Each one of those projects had loving, caring, respectful outcomes. I applaud you for that.”
Lincoln Board of Education President Lanny Boswell said Roth’s contributions to LPS and the Lincoln community will be felt for years to come.
“The outpouring of support we have gained from our community is from the thoughtful planning and efforts from Mary Kay,” Boswell said. “It’s evident in the messages we hear on social media and in the news - those projects where she planted the seed and cultivated the relationships are blooming and we are reaping the rewards. The real winners here are the 42,000 students and the 8,000 staff members who feel the support and are lifted up by our community...Thank you - from all of us - for your perseverance, your devotion and your spirit. We wish you all the best as you begin the next chapter.”
LPS Superintendent Steve Joel has worked closely with Roth since arriving in Lincoln 10 years ago. He said Thursday’s celebration event spoke volumes about her impact.
“When we dedicate a life and a career to something, it’s really measured by who’s there when the journey comes to an end,” Joel said. “And as I look around this room, I realize - and I know Mary Kay does, too - that this has been a journey that has paid tremendous dividends for all of us in this room, 42,000 students and a very grateful community. And for that, we thank you, Mary Kay.”
Roth’s final day with LPS is Sept. 30. After that, she plans on spending more time with friends and family, including her two granddaughters; more time walking in nature; more time championing the many causes she holds dear to heart; and more time chasing that ever-elusive perfect sunrise.
You also can listen to the latest episode of the LPS podcast, "Stories from Lincoln Public Schools," which features an interview with Roth.
Published: September 20, 2019, Updated: September 23, 2019