What People Say About Will Easley And His Legacy For Central Schools

Since Will Easley, one of the founding members of the Central School Board, has retired, the Central City News asked school board members he served with to recall his service on the board.  Here are some of their comments:

Roxanne Atkinson, Outgoing

Central School Board President

I came on the school board when the Central School Complex was already under construction. Will was out at the site everyday working with the construction people. He is very knowledgeable with construction, and he was there, very hands on, deciding on change order, materials, and every detail was just right.

He was very determined that we would protect the citizens’ pocketbooks. He believed we should never increase taxes without a vote of the people.  He made sure the board never rolled property taxes forward! I admire that about him.

I spent a lot of hours with Will, and he is a mentor to me. After the flood, he and Dot invited us to come and stay with them. They fed us and took care of us. You can imagine how much they mean to us!

One of the most important things about Will is his integrity. He is truthful, and his word is his bond.

Will’s decision to hire Mr. Mike Faulk as the 1st superintendent was excellent and set the school system on the right path.

Behind the scenes, Will would always tell us what he thought but he was never pushy. He would listen to our perspective, and we would listen to his.  Sometimes he would make a better case and sometimes we would. However, he was a team player, and once a decision was make, he would stand by it as though it were his own.

He is quiet and reserved. He is known for honesty and integrity. I would trust anything he told me.

Will is always happiest on his tractor. He says some of his best ideas come to him when he is working his farm. Sometime he would call me from his tractor. He would say, What do you think about this or that? He would be quiet and listen. 

If you ever get a chance to see his barn, do it! 

He is an amazing example of a dedicated public servant. He never accepted being president of the board. He never drew a paycheck or even turned in an expense report.  He was simply there to give to this community.  We are going to miss him!

Russell Starns, President

Central School Board 2007-2010

In my time serving on the Central Community School Board, Mr. Will Easley is and always will be the true portrayal and definition of what a public servant or elected official should be. 

If Washington were filled with people like Mr. Will Easley, our country would not be in the shape it is in today. 

Mr Will. The man never made a decision without thoroughly thinking it through and always based his final decision on what was best for everyone concerned. He never did anything in his position of authority to put himself or his personal interests ahead of what was best for others. 

He is one of the most unselfish, humble men I have ever known, one who truly loves his schools and city here in Central. 

A great example of this is the way he handled the process of building our new school complex. Hands down the man had more construction knowledge than anybody on our board.  He understood and knew the entire process from bidding the job to bricks and mortar building the structure. However, not once did he ever treat one citizen or fellow board member as though they where not his equal regarding their opinions on the project.  

He is such a good quality person and we are so fortunate he has served as long as he did.  He is a very quiet and reserved man, and it was a honor to serve with him on the school board. It was an honor to serve with

him and have him as my friend. 

Sharon Browning

Former Board President

I did not know Will Easley until we were both appointed to the newly-formed Central Community School System Board in 2007. Over the past 14 years, I have come to respect him as one of the most honest, intelligent, and fair-minded individuals that I have ever known.

On so many occasions, during his time on the board, when discussing issues with high-powered lawyers, fast-talking building contractors, and confusing actuaries, I remember Will saying: “Hold on boys, this old country boy isn’t following you. Run that by me a second time!” The rest of the board knew that these individuals would never confuse Will. He had always done his homework and researched the issue throughly. He could not be fooled!

Will was the best friend of Central school taxpayers. We would always joke how tightly he could squeeze a dollar and how he treated each dollar as if it were his own. He was the champion of never rolling forward taxes, and always stressed that doing so was like taxing the taxpayer without their having a vote on that tax.

Will is a thinker. On many occasions, the Board would be faced with a major decision. So many times, we would tell Will to go to his farm in Liverpool, hook up the bush hog, crank up the tractor and think this one out.

He is a self-made man, who through hard work and determination began his construction company in his backyard on Denham Road on the slab where the now popular Easley Barn stands. It was here that he built Trade Construction into a multimillion dollar, multi-parish operation.

This is the work ethic that he brought to the Central Community School System. Men like Will Easley are few and far between.

Will Easley is a credit to his family, his community, this school system, and to his God. I am proud to call him my friend.

Ruby Foil

Former Board President

It has been a pleasure working with Will. We had a very similar philosophy about spending money so we agreed on many issues. He worked very hard to save taxpayer dollars and to be sure that all money was well spent. 

His background in construction was a great asset to the board, and we referred to his expertise on many occasions. He also helped to oversee the building of the middle school and intermediate school complex. He made sure that all projects were done according to specifications. 

He spent a great deal of time researching various issues, which was very helpful in making decisions on the board. We will certainly miss having him working with us. For the last 14 years we have worked well together as a board and he and his wife have become dear friends.

Dr. Jim Gardner

School Board President

You have covered his role on the board and his political philosophy very well.  Therefore, I will give you some personal interactions I have had with Mr. Easley.   Early in our terms we had opposition and needed to put out campaign signs,  he designed and built special tools and frames for our signs that withstood the elements and helped me put mine and his out.  

We also traveled to Central High’s away football games as far away as the Lafayette area.  We always enjoyed the trip, talking about things that would make our school system better for the students and staff.  And we always had a great meal on these trips!

One of the things I admired most about him was the construction of his two barns.  He built them practically himself.  Before the Covid pandemic, he and Dot allowed many groups to use the “social barn” for meetings, parties, and even church services.  The construction has many features, which he designed and cannot be found in similar construction.  He also has a collection of old trucks, cars, and tractors, which I always admired.  He is quite a man and a great friend!  

Dr. Keith Holmes

School Board Member

I can’t say enough good about Will Easley. I had the privilege of serving with him on the Finance Committee, and we are so indebted for his leadership.

We wouldn’t have our AA rating without him. He’s a financial hawk!

After the flood, we didn’t have to wait for FEMA to build a new school.  We just did it. In other systems, because they were relying on the federal government, it’s taken  four years!

He took over as foreman at the Central School Complex. Without his knowledge and expertise, the details would not have been taken care of.  He is impeccable in his leadership and moral values.  Thank you for taking the time to acknowledge his great service to our community!

Dr. David Walker

Former Board President

Will Easley is such a great individual. He really cares about people, and he tries to help them.

He is so involved in the community.  Not only our public schools but also Central Private School. He is always giving back.

It’s not easy for me to talk about Will, because he’s more of a father figure to me, and it goes beyond the school board.

He’s really like an extension of my daddy.  I’d go to him to talk about things, and then we would go get a hamburger together. I lost my daddy in April, but I still talk to Will as those he were my daddy.

There are not many people in your life like that!

Even though Will is no longer on the board, that hasn’t changed.  I went to see him this week.

Dr. Jason Fountain


When others examine Mr. Easley’s legacy on the Central Community School System School Board, I am certain that many financial ideas will emerge: he was frugal, he protected taxpayer interests, he made decisions like he would in his business, he helped build a strong surplus. While all of these are true, for me it was more personal. My relationship with Mr. Easley is what I will treasure in the years to come.

When I stepped into the Superintendent position in January 2018, I was following a legend in Mike Faulk. My primary goal as I began in the position was to try not to mess up a good thing. This School Board nurtured me, encouraged me, challenged me, and helped me develop belief in myself. 

Over the last three years, I have established strong relationships with each board member. Each person is unique and brings special skills to the overall body of the school board. That is one of the reasons why this School Board has been so successful.

In reflecting on Mr. Easley’s impact on me, one poignant conversation that Mr. Easley and I had my first year as Superintendent will stick with me forever.

That morning I had been meeting with Mr. Easley for awhile updating him on the status of several issues in the school system. This was not an unusual occurrence. It was during these meetings that Mr. Easley would push me, challenge me, and persuade me to take a new look at an existing issue.

As I was preparing to leave, Mr. Easley said, “You know, I wasn’t going to run for school board this time around, but I did it for you. I think you have the ability to be a strong superintendent, but you don’t yet have the wisdom that only comes from experience.” He made this comment in the most heartfelt and sincere way possible. 

Don’t misunderstand –  Mr. Easley is not a man prone to sentimentality or touchy-feely thoughts. He’s a self-made man who succeeded by the work of his hands. But for him to make this statement touched me deeply.

I’ve thought about this conversation many times over the last three years. We all need a champion who believes in us, roots for us, and wants to see us be successful. Mr. Easley has severely challenged me on issues over the last three years, but I have always known that he wants the best for me and for this school system. There is great comfort in that.

To be successful in any arena of life requires the sacrifice and love of others. I’ll always be grateful for the wisdom and influence of Mr. Easley. His words have spoken life into me. So while everyone else will rightfully praise Mr. Easley’s financial acuity, I will best remember him for his humanity – for the conversations, for the thoughtful way he challenged me, for his belief in me. 

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