By Danny O’Malia
Last month marked the one year anniversary of the passing of a Carmel legend, Robert Hartman.
Hartman was the superintendent of Carmel schools from 1968 through 1993, a period of unprecedented growth for perhaps the state’s most successful school system. The record and growth speak for themselves.
But I wanted to remind everyone of Hartman, the man – a man very much like my own dad, Joe O’Malia.
So I sat down with his son, Mark Hartman, to get his thoughts. And everything Mark Hartman said lined up with what I’d experienced when visiting or dealing with “Doc.”
Mark Hartman spoke of how he and his siblings were raised by their parents to always “do the right thing” because it was the right thing.
He mentioned how many current and retired school system employees attended Robert Hartman’s funeral and how he was told time after time — by janitors, bus drivers and teachers that Bob had actually hired every one of them himself.
And that’s not to mention the advice he’d give: “Do your job the best way you can, and I’ll do my best to stay out of your way.”
Very Joe O’Malia-like indeed!
Doc wasn’t just an administrator. He was a fan — of the students, the school and the town. He attended everything he could — Greyhound sports, band concerts, plays and awards nights.
Not just for Carmel High. For all Carmel schools.
We talked about the darkest moment in Carmel Schools’ history — the horrible, tragic drivers-ed. crash and how Robert Hartman handled that.
We talked about the family tragedy of losing his daughter Melissa during childbirth some years later. Through it all, Bob carried on.
And his legacy lives on and grows. The Carmel Clay Education Foundation (of which I was proud to serve as a board member for years); AP classes; taking care of special needs students — all accomplishments to take pride in.
Carmel schools sent O’Malia Food Markets well-prepared young employees who were very good people. We always appreciated that.
Carmel was and is and will continue to be a great place to live and go to school, and Doc Hartman’s legacy is important now and will be into the future.
Thank you Doc!