SPARTA, NJ – There were hugs and good byes at the Sparta Board of Education meeting on Monday night at the Mohawk Avenue School.  Director of Buildings and Grounds Keith Gourlay was recognized for his 29 years of service to the school district. 

During his tenure Gourlay has been a part of many changes and event in the district.  The Sparta Middle School was built.  The High School was reconstructed.  The Alpine School was rebuilt after a fire.  He had to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, a sink hole at the entrance to Alpine school, a roof collapse at Helen Morgan and the extreme winter weather last year that included a compromised roof at Helen Morgan.  

In addition to his duties here in Sparta, Gourlay serves as on the Hampton Township municipal governing body as Committeeman.

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Upon Gourlay’s retirement from Sparta he will become the Executive Director of the New Jersey School Buildings and Grounds Association.  He has been serving as the Acting ED since last May.  He has held other leadership positions on the Executive Board of the professional association including Treasurer, Secretary, Vice President and Vice President.   

Gourlay has been an instructor at Rutgers University in their New Jersey Educational Facilities Management program through their Center for Government Services.   

Board President and former district employee Karen Scott said, “It was wonderful having Keith to work with.  It was more than just the buildings and grounds for him.  It was about the programs and the people.”

Superintendent Dennis Tobin said, “I personally had the pleasure of working with Keith for 23 years in the Sparta school district.  During his tenure here he played a critical role in overseeing the construction of our middle school and high school, along with effectively dealing with district emergencies such as the fire at Alpine, the Helen Morgan School roof collapse and the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  Keith was a true professional who made every decision based on the best interest of our district, students and staff.  He will be missed.  We thank him for his dedicated services and wish him the best in all his future endeavors.”

Gourlay is the third administrator to resign or retire this year.  Transportation Supervisor Marcy Decker left in October for the same job in Hillsborough school district.   Linda Cooper, Director of Special Services, is retiring as of Jan 1.  Dr Daniel Johnson, Sparta High School principal, was approved as interim Director until a full time replacement can be found.