Robert Speck started his service to the school district in the 1960s as an elementary school father who was active in the Stevens School PTA, eventually becoming the Stevens PTA president. Eventually all four of Bob's children became BH-BL graduates, and three of his 10 grandchildren current attend district schools.
In 1973 the Stevens PTA honored Bob with a Founder's Day
Award in recognition of his exemplary service to the school.
This is the highest award given by the BH-BL PTAs. In 1974, Bob
was elected by district residents to his first three-year term
of office on the BH-BL Board of Education, started his 36 years
in this position until his formal board service ended on June
30, 2010. Part of the BH-BL Board of Education's long-standing
democratic culture is that the board presidency rotates each
year. During his tenure, Bob served as school board president
for six one-year terms, specifically during the 1977-78,
1987-88, 1993-94, 1998-99, 2004-05, and 2008-09 school years.
During these years he continued attending PTA meetings, volunteering to serve on district study committees, attending training workshops, researching all the various issues before the school board, and attending athletic functions for his children and grandchildren. Bob is a fan of all of the BH-BL sports and still regularly attends soccer games.
He served on the Capital Region BOCES Board of Directors for over six years, serving school districts throughout Albany, Schenectady and Schoharie Counties and becoming president of that board for two years. From 1990 - 2001, Bob was also the elected Area 7 Director on the board of the NY State School Boards Association (NYSSBA), meaning that he represented the interests of 75 area school districts on this statewide group for 10 years. This required Bob to attend many state functions in both Albany and Washington, DC.
Bob has long been known as the school district's archivist with an amazing collection of binders full of materials documenting every aspect of BH-BL school history. He authored a booklet about state educational history for NYSSBA, and has been the go-to person for any question about past committees, activities and initiatives within the school district. He continues in his role as district historian to this day.
When Bob celebrated his 25th year on the school board in 1998, the BH-BL Rotary named him their "Citizen of the Year" for his contributions to the local community and to education. At that time Bob was only the third person so honored by the BH-BL Rotary.
At the groundbreaking for the new Middle School library media center on April 27, 2005, Bob's fellow board members surprised him by announcing their decision to name the new structure the "Robert S. Speck Library Media Center." Part of the surprise was that all four of Bob's children and his 10 grandchildren were on hand to help with the groundbreaking ceremony. BH-BL residents were also proud to honor Bob as Grand Marshal of the 9th annual Community Flag Day Parade down Route 50 on June 10, 2010.
Although there is no group that tracks school board members' service records for the 700-plus school districts in the state, BH-BL believes Speck was one of the longest serving school board members in New York history.