By Errol Castens
OXFORD – Attorney Jack Dunbar was honored Monday by the Oxford School District Board of Trustees as the district’s Citizen of the Year.
Dunbar’s recognition sprang from his vision for ensuring students’ effective vision. He happened across a television program about the difficulties that some children have in school because of poor eyesight that often goes unrealized and unremedied.
For that cause, “Mr. Dunbar donated $25,000 to this district and the students of this district,” said Superintendent Brian Harvey. The purpose of the gift was “to set up a system to screen students who might need to visit an eye doctor.” It provides eye exams, transportation to and from those exams and the cost of glasses if needed.
Dunbar, who has been listed in all editions of “Best Lawyers in America” and has held numerous positions of honor from president of the University of Mississippi Law School student body to president of the Southern Bar Conference, said being named OSD Citizen of the Year “is unexpected, but very much an appreciated honor.
“I hope maybe we can get a Nobel Prize winner (from Oxford schools) because they could see to learn in the first grade,” Dunbar said.
In other business at Monday’s meeting, Assistant Superintendent Bill Hamilton said the district largely was pleased with its 37 new faculty hires for the upcoming school year, which included teachers in several difficult-to-fill specialties such as Latin and hearing-impaired instruction.
The one negative, he said, was an underrepresentation of African-Americans in the hires.
In answer to questions by Romana Reed, the only African-American on the school board, Harvey said the number of blacks hired reflected the percentage that attended a job fair held earlier this year but added, “We’ve got to investigate ways to increase the pool.”