By Chuck Stewart, Jr.
New Windsor - "Keep it moving," Ron Jackson would say.
For more than 40 years, students, faculty and staff have heard Ron Jackson say those words. He used those words while he taught his Physical Education classes. He used those words as he coached various sports. And he used those words as an administrator.
Hundreds turned out last Friday night, on the occasion of his retirement from the Newburgh Enlarged City School District, to pay tribute to the man who "kept them moving."
David McFadgen, a former student athlete of Coach Jackson’s, gave a heart-warming tribute. He recalled how Jackson pushed him to be the best athlete he could be. McFadgen says, "Because of this man, I have received an education, traveled the world and competed in places I can’t even spell."
Coach Mike Paz recalled Jackson as a great friend, coach and man who was always calm. "He never lost his cool," Paz said. "I remember all of us coaches would be sweating and having coronaries during a basketball game, but not Ron. He was always cool."
Superintendent of Schools Ralph Pizzo called Jackson "a stand up guy and a team player." Pizzo said, "One of his overriding attributes is he loves kids, and the kids always come first."
Former Newburgh Enlarged City School District Board of Education President and current board member Runston Lewis has known Jackson for more than 30 years. Lewis can still recall when he encouraged Jackson to transition from a Physical Education teacher to an administrator. Lewis told Jackson, "I think you need to be a principal because you can touch more kids."
Lewis was right.
Gracious, kind, loving, caring, and friend. Those are but a few of the words that were used repeatedly throughout the evening to describe Ron Jackson.
And while the theme of the night was "To Sir with Love," Jackson had his own theme. "I never would have made it, without you," Jackson said, pointing to all of the people that filled the ball room at Anthony’s Pier 9.
Never one to take credit, he graciously acknowledged that his success was made possible by all his family, friends, co-workers and students. "Without you," Jackson said, "I never would have made it."
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