The entryway to the Junior-Senior High School is named for Barrie Fleegel, the beloved superintendent who liked things done his way.
Folks will be reminded of a beloved member of the Marion school community every time they drive into the parking lot at the Junior-Senior High School.
That’s where they’ll see the sign for Barrie Fleegel Way, dedicated to the memory of the district’s longtime superintendent, who spent his entire educational career at Marion.
Members of the Marion community, as well as Mr. Fleegel’s friends and family, came together on a chilly Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago to celebrate his life by dedicating the driveway into the school in his memory. Bus drivers, board members, former students, faculty and family members witnessed the unveiling of Barrie Fleegel Way.
One of Mr. Fleegel’s daughters said it was deserved honor, considering her father’s personality.
“We thought naming the road in front of the school Barrie Fleegel Way was most appropriate because it reflected how he always had it in his mind about how he felt things should be,” said Tracy Fleegel Whitney.
Whitney, together with her sister, Mary Fleegel, suggested the name for the driveway.
“He was a strong-headed man, no doubt about it,” said Whitney. “He had a very strong personality, and it was his way or no way most of the time.”
Mr. Fleegel began his career at Marion in 1955 as a science teacher. He held several administrative roles leading up to being appointed superintendent of schools in 1978. He held the post until his retirement in 1995 and remained an influential leader until his death in April 2006.
Mr. Fleegel’s larger-than-life personality and unwavering enthusiasm for Marion’s success was made apparent in the 15-minute ceremony through speakers that included school board member Penny Shaw and a touching poem written in his honor and read aloud by bus driver Lisa Spencer.
Spencer shared a special bond with Mr. Fleegel: a love of Mickey Mouse. She read a buoyant tale capturing the essence of Mr. Fleegel with lines including: “He rode with us to the band/He marched many a mile/He worked all day at the road-e-o/And ended with a smile.”
Spencer tied a Mickey Mouse flag to the post bearing his name.
Penny Shaw, a retired elementary teacher and a second-year member of the Marion Board of Education, led the morning’s festivities and was a leading force behind renaming the driveway.
Shaw and Mr. Fleegel began their teaching careers at Marion around the same period and grew together in the district as both educators, parents and leaders.
“It troubled me that Barrie had devoted his whole life here and there was nothing with his name on it,” said Shaw, who presented the idea to dedicate something in his name last fall.
Page 2 of 2 - “The board members all agreed, and we ran with it,” she said. “There were some other ideas as to how to honor him, some said maybe name the whole school after him, or the music area. We thought the driveway would be the most visible, especially in front of these trees that he loved so much.”