FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Longtime FWCS Board President Mark GiaQuinta will resign April 1. What’s next for him isn’t clear, but he doesn’t plan to stray far from education. He said he wants to volunteer his time with the Fort Wayne Community Schools Foundation, and take on any special projects Superintendent Wendy Robinson may have. After ten years he’s eager to see those on the board and future members take on leadership roles.
“This is a really hard thing for me to do,” GiaQuinta said. “But I’ve walked away from other positions only to find something else equally fulfilling.”
While traveling for business, GiaQuinta told NewsChannel 15 over the phone he wanted to be a part of negotiations for Dr. Wendy Robinson’s new contract. That was completed at the end of last year so now he’s ready to move on.
“I’m not one to hang around past the point where I feel like I’m taking up space from other individuals assuming leadership roles,” GiaQuinta said.
“Thanks to Mark this district is more open and accountable,” FWCS Board Member Steve Corona said.
“He really taught me to teach politically, strategically and focus on policy,” FWCS Board President Julie Hollingsworth said.
Corona, a 35-year board member, said GiaQuinta lead the board through good times like winning building referendums. He also took on difficult issues like the decision to close Elmhurst.
“I mean when I came on the Board we had just lost a referendum by a 25 to 75 vote,” GiaQuinta said. “By changing the image of public education in Fort Wayne we are now winning referendums to improve the basic brick and mortar of our buildings and we’re winning those votes 75 to 25. We’ve seen a complete reversal in the referendum results which I think reflect confidence on the part of the public.”
Corona and Hollingsworth agreed GiaQuinta stood up for what he believed was right for the district.
“He’s not afraid to speak his mind, he’s a great speaker and he’s not afraid to talk about the difficult issues,” Corona said.
“He’s got vision and he’s not afraid to speak up,” Hollingsworth said.
“I saw the general malaise in public education that had existed from the 90s on, and I wanted deeply to be a part of affecting fundamental change in our public schools,” GiaQuinta said.
Dr. Robinson released this statement:“It seems like there hasn’t been a time in my tenure as superintendent that Mark GiaQuinta wasn’t a part of the district. When he joined the Board, he came with the unique perspective of having been a parent in our district, a community advocate and an attorney. He brought his wealth of resources to the district to advocate every day for the children of Fort Wayne. His commitment to issues he is passionate about is unrivaled, and he has served as a mentor to many in strong Board governance and goal-setting. We know the Board will not be the same without Mark. When a strong leader leaves a team, the team isn’t quite the same. But Mark leaves a legacy that will be felt in the district for years to come.”
The Board has 30 days to fill GiaQuinta’s at-large seat.