Farewell to a leader
In his first interview with The Record-Courier back in 1979, Dr. Greg Betts was wearing a Hawaiian shirt. He was moving into his new offices after being hired away from Berryessa, Calif.
For a guy with a doctorate, Betts was a pretty regular guy, who’d experienced just about every kind of education there was during his 81 years on this Earth.
His first learning years were spent in a one-room school house in Depression-era central Pennsylvania. He went to high school, participated in sports and then joined the U.S. Army.
After a two-year term, he went to college, where he met his wife of 60 years and found a career.
In 1953, Betts started his teaching career at what was essentially an elementary school where he had 45 students in a classroom, and was in charge of the building.
That on-the-ground management prepared him for a lifetime as a leader. When he arrived in Douglas County, there were only 21,000 people living here, less than half the current population.
There were only 3,500 students attending school in the county, many of those at Lake Tahoe’s three schools. Kingsbury Middle School and Douglas High School had just been built. Meneley Elementary was under construction through the first half of the school year.
Douglas was a place in transition, and Betts recognized that.
As the prime mover in establishing the Douglas County Education Foundation he invited the community to participate in the school district. By founding the Professional Development Center, he set the bar higher for educators working for the district.
If asked, he would credit the school board and staff for putting Douglas on the map.
Upon being named administrator of the year in 1984, he told a reporter that two things were happening when a superintendent wins that big an honor.
“That there’s a good board and a competent staff,” he said. “We’re fortunate to have both.”
We are also fortunate to have known Greg Betts.