Aldine says “goodbye” to Wanda & Archie

Superintendents Archie Blanson and Wanda Bamberg were presented with framed histories of their early years in education, and subsequent years as they developed at Aldine ISD.
Superintendents Archie Blanson and Wanda Bamberg were presented with framed histories of their early years in education, and subsequent years as they developed at Aldine ISD.

Two beloved superintendents set to retire

Campbell Center was the scene of a Gala Celebration last Thursday afternoon, as the Aldine ISD community and others paid tribute to the years of dedication and leadership provided to the district by two retiring superintendents, Dr. Wanda Bamberg, and Deputy Superintendent Archie Blanson.

Several hundred Aldine staff, guests, family, and the public were present and seated at beautifully decorated tables on the floor of the center. Before the celebration the audience was entertained by the Eisenhower Jazz Band, and near the end by the MacArthur Show Choir. These presentations were a hallmark of Dr. Bamberg’s public presentations, and fitting accompaniment to the program. Dr. Bamberg is also known for keynoting her talks with readings from a book she has chosen for the occasion, and so this time there was a reading from “Collectors Collect Things” in this case words leading to their use and education.

The program was actually a combination of a Toast, and a Roast, as many of the superintendents’ colleagues took the opportunity to describe with humor some of the foibles the pair had faced over the years.

There were many speakers who added to the legacy of the pair, some with insight, some with humor, or both. These included school board president Steve Mead, board member Rose Avalos, associates Bill Plummer and Raymond Stubblefield. In addition, there were a number of certificates of appreciation presented by officials, including representatives from Congresspersons Gene Green and Sheila Jackson Lee, and a thank you talk in person by State Senator Sylvia Garcia, saying Wanda is known through the state of Texas at the top of her profession.

The superintendents also had a chance to speak about each other. Archie said about Wanda, “She always shows up everywhere, she has a sense of humor, she supports staff and teachers, and provides leadership.”

Wanda said about Archie, that it was “an incredible opportunity to get to work with him.” She noted that they shared the principle of “it’s all about the children.”

One of the most enjoyable talks was by Rose Avalos, telling first of Wanda’s accomplishments in here 11 years as superintendent, and then some of her humorous traits. First she mentioned that during her term, a $790 million bond issue has been passed to meet the growth needs of the district, that Aldine had won the national Broad Prize, and that she led with a hands-on approach, often visiting the 63 campuses. In honor of her efforts, the new Resource Center was named for her. But then Rose mentioned a few quirks, such as an obsession with shoes, and her fascination with the ukelele. Rose presented her with a ukelele as a memento.

The two superintendents had informed the Board of Trustees last October that they were planning their retirement. This gave the board enought time to search for and hire the new superintendent, Dr. LaTonya Goffney.

Dr. Bamberg is in her 11th year as superintendent and has devoted 36 of her 41 years in education to Aldine ISD. In her letter to the Board, she thanked them for their support during her tenure as AISD’s superintendent.

Dr. Blanson devoted all of his 39 years in education to Aldine ISD. In his letter to the board, he also thanked them for their support. “I have been honored to have served four superintendents over the course of my career,” he said. “But I would like to extend a very special thanks to Dr. Wanda Bamberg for allowing me to serve as her Deputy Superintendent for the last 10 years. The district’s new career and technical educational high school will be named the Dr. Archie L. Blanson Career and Technical Educational High School.

In her closing remarks, Dr. Bamberg especially thanked her predecessor, Dr. Nadine Kujawa. Then she said “I’m proud to be part of this Aldine community. I’m excited about the future for Aldine.”