I had an interesting visitor stop by my desk on a Friday morning this past winter. I get to see a lot of interesting people in a day but when he came through the door his first words were "Well, just stopping in to see how you are treating the place." With his baseball cap tipped to the side and the words of agriculture advertising on the front he walked right up to my desk. "You don't know who I am do you?"
Being tagged in my Kolbe report as a "researcher" I quickly scanned for any clue of who this new friend might be when I saw it! Just behind his olive green work jacket was the littlest part of his name badge appearing out of the edge. All I could see was JACK. Knowing the only Jack who might walk in someday wanting to know how we were "treating the place", I quickly said "I think I do know, you are Jack Hobbs." A smile lit up his face like he was a Hall of Fame inductee. (And mine face too because my guess was right on target!) At ESSDACK Jack really is that important. In fact with out him we would not be here as a Education Service Center.
Jack is one of the six founding fathers and area administrators who sat down one afternoon in McPherson the early 1980's and came up with a plan for an Educational Service Center that could help our school districts. He recalled each one of those in attendance by name. If you have attended a workshop here and sat in the "Jack Hobbs Room" now you know how it's name came to be. How determined some were to see this project take hold and benefit the future of education in Kansas. I doubt at the time they could even imagine the school districts their service center would end up helping in the future. The cost effectiveness was attractive to the group. If one district could do well imagine the possibilities when several school districts collaborated to share ideas under a central leadership. Several organizational meetings followed and the Educational Services and Staff Development of Central Kansas (ESSDACK) became a reality.
The ESSDACK rooms are named after their founding fathers next time you are here check out the names above the door. You will see William White, Harold Voth, Jack Hobbs, Cecil Deel, Robert Burkholder, and James Webb.
From it's early beginnings in a single office space, then moved to an area district office to reside, then to a first presentation center to ESSDACK's home today their vision is still alive.
After introducing him to our ESSDACK Director, Mike Cook, Jack was back on the road visiting area farmers in his traveling agriculture job. He makes his home in Hesston, Kansas. If any of you see him out visiting your farm or on the streets of your town. Tell him thanks for being an administrator who made a difference in Kansas Education.