By Ezra Hernandez
Dr. Alan Seay decided to hang up his business attire after 30 years of service to public education, retiring from his most recent position as the CEO of A+ Charter Schools, Inc., and Superintendent of Inspired Vision Academy and A+ Academy. His retirement reception on February 8, 2016, marked the formal conclusion of his esteemed position, bringing together many whose lives were somehow made a little more remarkable by his leadership.
Seay entered the charter school world in 2011, after spending his first 25 years as a teacher, coach, principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent in traditional independent school districts. His arrival to A+ Charter Schools was met with apprehension and concern, as whispered rumors of nuclear changes that would be detrimental to “the best kept secret in Southeast Dallas,” made their way through the campuses. The man from the ISD world could not possibly understand what it would take to keep the friendly, safe, and innovative environment required in the charter school movement.
As time moved forward, however, it became apparent that Seay did not plan to ruin lives or pollute the charter school environment. Instead, he became a powerful, but humble, force that Southeast Dallas (and more specifically, Pleasant Grove) had long been lacking—and became a believer, stakeholder, and substantial leader in the charter school movement.
He ignited a change in the involvement of charter schools in the Southeast Dallas community, becoming a truly active member of the Southeast Dallas Chamber, the Kiwanis Club of Pleasant Grove, Boy Scouts of America, and the Southeast Dallas Hispanic Chamber. The relationships he helped build cemented the outlook of A+ Charter Schools as significant, unmitigated resources to the Southeast Dallas Community, and to the charter school community as a whole, as the founder of the North Texas Charter Schools’ Superintendent Study Group, his service on the Region 10 Administrative Services Advisory Committee, and his involvement with the Texas Charter Schools Association.
Seay’s incredible impact was evident at his retirement reception, with the room full of friends, family, coworkers, and community leaders, sharing last remarks and a last plate of food with the CEO and Superintendent. Lance Prothro, President of the Kiwanis Club of Pleasant Grove, spoke on the club’s behalf of Seay’s impressive influence in the club, and throughout the community, and presented Seay with a donation in his name to the charity of his choice. Brenton White, the newly appointed Superintendent of A+ Charter Schools, presented Seay with an achievement award, as well as made a few final remarks on behalf of the appreciation of A+ Schools. And, with no hesitation, Pastor of Inspired Vision Church and founder of A+ Charter Schools, Karen Belknap, made her way to the front to give her immeasurable thanks to Seay’s leadership, and most of all, to his dedication to her original mission of positively transforming the lives of children in Southeast Dallas.
While there were some tears shed at Seay’s reception, it became clear after hearing Seay speak that while he was retiring from his leading role, he was not actually retiring into permanent beach attire. While he will spend the next month lounging at home, he will return to A+ Charter Schools soon after, as a part-time consultant, to oversee a major expansion project of A+ Academy high school, and will also continue to lead the monthly ‘Superintendent Study Group’ meetings. So don’t play the sad songs of goodbye just yet (see Time of Your Life by Greenday, or Forever Young by Bob Dylan, for future reference)—we haven’t seen the last of Alan Seay.