Ludlow Independent Schools Superintendent Michael Borchers is continuing his tradition this year of inviting the public to have coffee with him on the first Wednesday of each month.
“I started doing this the second year that I was superintendent,” said Borchers, who has been superintendent at Ludlow for 12 years. “It is a chance for me to get out there and meet with people in the community. We talk about anything and everything. We talk about school things and just community things. If there is any misinformation out there, we get it cleared up. And if there is something I don’t know, I always find out the answer and get back to them.”
At first, the coffee klatches were held at a coffee shop owned by the former mayor, Ken Wynn. Borchers later moved to other coffee places. This year the gatherings will be at Ludlow Coffee, located at 630 Elm Street and owned by James Hall and Wes Dorger.
Borchers arrives a little before 9 a.m. on the first Wednesday of the month and settles in to see who has time to join him. The small cafe does a strong business in the morning hours since it is located on the main street of Ludlow and is convenient for people to stop in and grab a latte.
“This month is the first coffee time of the school year, so I gave our newly printed Ludlow cups to the people who stopped by,” Borchers said. “We started with one person, and we talked about the new construction at the schools, which will gain momentum by the end of the year and start in earnest early next year.”
Gradually more people, one by one, stopped by, and the little table for four extended out to accommodate each newcomer.
Topics of conversation moved on from the physical changes at the district to sports, and anecdotes about soccer and football took the stage.
“I never know exactly what will happen, or what topics will come up,” said Borchers. “I remember one day a long time ago it snowed and no one came, but that is to be expected. A few times I brought people, like the principals of the two schools, and they were able to talk to people about what was going on in the schools. During the pandemic we had to take a break from the get togethers, but we are back again.”
Borchers buys the coffee for people who come to spend some time talking to him.
He thinks that this year the conversations will be more important to people because of the massive reconstruction that is starting thanks to significant state funding.
“I think it is good for people to see that I am out, and they can easily come and talk to me,” he said. “Many times, people are reluctant to make an official appointment and come to my office to talk to me. If I am out and approachable at the coffee shop, people can make time to stop in and talk to me, no pressure, about the things we have in common.”