Bob Speck has been a fixture in the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake School District for so long, he's earned himself a nickname among some: Mr. Burnt Hills.
To honor his 36 years of service on the district's Board of Education, an open house will be held on Friday, Oct. 1, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the middle school's library media center, which bears his name.
"I'm very humbled, just trying to stay cool and do it. All my family and 10 grandchildren will be there and that's [the source of] my commitment to the education of young people," said Speck.
Speck had four children of his own pass through the school district and he served in various capacities throughout the years, from being a PTA member to sitting six terms as school board president.
"It was about developing programs for children and also developing the district through renovation of facilities, recognition of staff people to this day I'm interested in what they're going to do with the declining enrollment, which is probably as low as it's ever been," said Speck.
Speck started serving the district in the '60s as an active PTA member at the elementary school, eventually becoming the president of the group. In 1974, he was elected to his first three-year term of office on the Board of Education and stayed there until this past June when his formal board service ended. Speck also served on the Capital Region BOCES Board of Directors and was elected Area 7 director on the New York State School Boards Association, which he represented for 10 years. Speck also helped train newly elected board members and updated the policy manual. When honored for his 25th year on the board in 1998, he was named "Citizen of the Year" for his contributions to the local community and education, making him only the third person to be honored by the BH-BL Rotary.