After 26 years with Elkin City Schools, Ron Mack is hanging up his hat as maintenance director for the school system.
Mack began his career in school maintenance in 1981, when hired by Wilkes County Schools as a finished carpenter. When the opportunity arose for him to potentially be promoted, the current maintenance director, some staff at Wilkes felt he was too young.
Elkin City Schools’ superintendent at the time, David Thrift, recommended hiring Mack. The Department of Public Instruction also felt Mack was too young, but Thrift was confident in Mack’s ability, and he was hired by Elkin City Schools at age 27.
“When I was hired, I was the youngest maintenance director ever hired in the state of North Carolina,” Mack said. “David Thrift felt I could do the job, and I really appreciate that, because I’m still here.”
Mack spoke of many accomplishments at his time with Elkin City Schools. “My biggest accomplishment with Elkin City Schools was the high school’s renovation project,” he said. “I think it looks like a university up front, and I’m really proud and glad to have been a part of it.”
Not always having the funding he needed was what Mack attributed as his biggest struggle, but being able to give teachers what they needed was what he found most gratifying. “I always wanted to give the teachers what they wanted, within reason, but we didn’t always have that luxury. It’s like I had my wish-list, and I could only hope to get the money for those things. That’s why I say the fun part was getting to spend money.”
In Mack’s 26 years with Elkin City Schools, he said he hoped he not only had a hand in bettering the schools’ grounds and buildings, but also hopes he touched some lives.
“I got to see a lot of students come through this school,” he said. “If I have touched at least one life by being around them, then it’s all been worth it.”
Mack’s achievements exceed just what he accomplished at Elkin City Schools.
He was a member of North Carolina Public Schools Maintenance Association for 28 years. He served as both state and local officers, was District 7 president several times, and was state president three years ago.
Mack now has big hopes for his retirement.
“I’ve got a lot of home projects I want to do,” he said. “My biggest project I have planned is a home wood shop. I also want to get more involved with my church, Mount Pleasant Baptist, and I want to join the Baptist men. I just want to see if I can be a better person than I already am; a better Christian, at least.”
As Mack embarks on this next chapter of his life, John Altemueller will be stepping up to replace him on July 1.
“I recommended John to be hired,” Mack said. “He’s a good man. I hired him three years as a general maintenance technician, and I feel he will do a real good job.”
Altemueller is looking forward to the challenge and has nothing but words of admiration for Mack. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for all that has been accomplished under the direction of Ron Mack.”
Reach Darcie Dyer at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.