, Port Arthur, Texas

June 18, 2013

Nederland 'icon' says goodbye after 13 years

Erinn Callahan
The Port Arthur News

NEDERLAND — The Nederland Independent School District board of trustees approved the resignation of trustee Everett H. Sanderson at a meeting on Monday — albeit reluctantly.

“As difficult as this is for me, since you’ve harassed me for the last two years,” said board secretary Kay DeCuir wryly, “I move that we accept the resignation of Everett Sanderson.”

Vice president Nicholas Phillips seconded the motion, and it then passed unanimously, with trustee Jesse Branick absent from voting.

Trustee Reed Richard, who ran for school board with Sanderson, said he appreciated the welcome he received from him when he was elected.

“Like I told you back in the day, I wasn’t running against you — I was running with you,” Richard said. “You will be missed.”

But, Richard added, Sanderson hasn’t seen the last of him.

 “You will get called when this one goes into Austin, because I am still hungry for barbecue,” he said.

Assistant superintendent Mike Laird has worked with Sanderson for 12 years.

“I can’t recall not knowing Everett Sanderson,” he said. “I just want to say how much we appreciate what you put into this non-paying job, and how even though we disagreed at times, you always put the best interests of everybody in this district ahead of your personal feelings.”

Assistant superintendent Stuart Kieshnick agreed.

“We’re all in this business for one thing, and that’s kids,” he said. “Every decision you made was, in your mind, best for the kids. For that, you ought to be commended.”

Since September 2011, Sanderson’s job with Shaw Cowart, LLP, has required him to spend the majority of his weekdays in Austin. Since then, he has missed only one board meeting — even going so far as to communicate with the board via Skype for special meetings and budget workshops. When his job situation became more permanent, Sanderson made the difficult decision to step down.

“It’s been challenging at times,” Sanderson said. “But I’ve enjoyed the heck out of it.”

His roots in Nederland run deep. Barring a stint at Baylor University Law School in Waco, Sanderson, 55, has spent all his days in Nederland, and has practiced law in Jefferson County since 1986. The former owner of Sanderson’s Restaurant and Bar is the longest-sitting board member after 13 years, even serving as president on two different occasions.

“I’ve been through three complete boards, and I will say that this group we have now is probably the best group I’ve ever seen,” Sanderson said. “Y’all show a bright future for this district.

The board has 180 days to appoint a replacement for Sanderson, president Suzanne Isom said. She hopes to get that accomplished at next month’s meeting.

However, Isom — now the longest-sitting board member at 12 years — knows it won’t be an easy task.

“He’s an icon in Nederland,” she said.


Twitter: @ErinnPA