Just call him Super Volunteer. Though he doesn't duck into a phone booth to put on a cape, Randall Canedy is always ready to help when the Mansfield School District (MISD) has a need.
And, after 24 years and at 65 years of age, he has no plans to slow down.
Canedy was recently awarded the MISD Community Service Award, recognizes community members who significantly contribute back to the district. It's something he's been doing ever since he became friends with the late former Supernintendent Vernon Newsom.
"Not long after I arrived, the district hired Vernon Newsom as Superintendent. Not long after that, I met him and we became very good friends," Canedy said. "As a banker in town, we often discussed the growth Mansfield and the district was experiencing and how it was going to be managed. Frost Bank, who I am employed by, has had a longstanding relationship with the district."
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In 1996, Newsom asked Canedy if he would assist him in establishing an Education Foundation in the district, which Canedy accepted.
"That event really engaged me in a very strong relationship with the district, and I developed a tremendous amount of respect for educators and the impact they have on our kids and our future," he said. "Plus, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I have always had a secret desire to be an educator."
Canedy has a daughter who is a senior at Mansfield High School and a son who lives in Los Angeles and is a graduate of Legacy in 2010. However, he said his commitment to the district does not end with his daughter's graduation.
"Some of our most effective advocates for the district don’t have children in the district, but know that a strong educational system in a community is the catalyst for building quality citizens and leaders for the future," he said.
Canedy said he does so much for the MISD because he can't emphasize enough the importance of a strong school district and the value it provides for a community. Mansfield is renowned as among the most respected in the state.
"Any district administrator will tell you that community and parent support is essential is maintaining a strong school system. We are all part of building an educational community in order for our students to grow and prosper," he said.
In fact, MISD School Board President Raul Gonzalez echoed those thoughts. He said he has never met anyone like Canedy.
"We blessed to have many volunteers and Randall Canedy is one of the stars. Mr. Canedy has given of his time for many years to serve on various district committees as well as more hands-on volunteering in his children's schools," Gonzalez said.
His wife, ----, is a substitute teacher in the MISD, but she also finds time to volunteer. Currently, she is working on A Night to Shine, the Tim Tebow Prom project for special needs youngsters.
"I am so proud," Canedy said. "I also think that her support of what I do is so very important in encouraging me."
Canedy is not only a MISD parent but a community liaison through his employer, Frost Bank. Through his leadership, Frost has provided scholarships, sponsorships and donations to various district and school programs.
"We are blessed to have Mr. Canedy and many other hard working volunteers as part of the great things that are happening in MISD," Gonzalez said.
Canedy said as honored as he is to receive the award, he feels it is the educators are the true heroes.
"Obviously I am significantly honored. To be recognized by the district is so humbling," he said. "I think of all that our educators do to impact the lives of our children, I really feel that they are the ones that should receive the recognition."
Canedy said his favorite part of being a volunteer in the MISD is seeing the results of the efforts. He recalled the rewarding feeling he got when he served on the Education Foundation Board and the many programs that were funded, along with the significant impact they had on the students.
"It also sends a strong message to the educators that their role in educating and impacting our children does not go unnoticed," he said. "But it’s the little things that can also mean so much."
For example, he takes one hour of his week to read to a second- and fourth-grade class.
"To see those students then come and tell you the great new books they are reading, or when I run into a high schooler who will say 'You used to read to me when I was in second grade,” that feels good," he said. "And who doesn’t have an hour each week to give back to a school?"