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Samantha Norris, spokesperson for Dominion Energy and Mike Cozad, community liaison for Atlantic Coast Pipeline, present $9,000 in grants Tuesday at the Upshur County Board of Education meeting at Buckhannon Academy Elementary School. Pictured above, board members gather with Norris and Cozad and recipients B-UHS DECA, B-UHS Principal Eddie Vincent and Rock Cave Elementary School Principal Amanda Craig.

Atlantic Coast Pipeline pumps $9,000 into school system to support safety, agriculture and more

BUCKHANNON – Members of the Upshur County Board of Education had much to celebrate during their meeting Tuesday at Buckhannon Academy Elementary School.

Samantha Norris, spokesperson for Dominion Energy and Mike Cozad, community liaison for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, presented Upshur County Schools with a total of $9,000.

Norris thanked board members for the opportunity to be a part of Upshur County.

“This community has been an unbelievable host and very welcoming to our pipeline team,” Norris said. “This is a great opportunity to give back to your children, and we thank you for the opportunity to do this tonight.”

Norris and Cozad presented the B-UHS DECA , a career and technical school organization, with $1,000 for their commitment to business education in the schools. Rock Cave Elementary School was given $2,000 for their commitment to agricultural education in the school.

In addition, B-UHS Principal Eddie Vincent accepted a check for $6,000 to support safety in Upshur County Schools and for promoting the welfare of Upshur County students.

In other news, Upshur County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus announced Upshur County Schools is teaming up with Glenville State College and the state of West Virginia to address an issue facing counties across the state – a shortage of teachers.

Stankus told the board that she and other school officials had recently traveled to Charleston to sign on to a program referred to as “Homegrown” with Gov. Jim Justice and Glenville State College President Dr. Tracy Pellett.

Dr. Sara Stankus and president of Glenville State College, Dr. Tracy Pellett

Stankus didn’t divulge all the details but said the school system is enthusiastic putting the program in place.

“Students at the high school who are interested in becoming teachers – and we believe this is a great program given the amount of teacher shortages – they will complete two years of college during their junior and senior years of high school, and then go two years at Glenville State College, full ride, before coming home to their hometown to teach,” Stankus explained. “During their first two years of teaching, they will have a teacher-mentor paid for through this scholarship. We are really, really excited about this project.”

According to a press release from GSC announcing the partnership Wednesday, the number of empty slots normally filled by teachers has notably risen by about 300 from approximately 400 in 2014 to 700 in 2017. The release says vacancies are particularly acute in special education, math, early education and science.

“Students who are interested in enrolling in GSC’s education program and taking part in the ‘Home Grown’ initiative can expect to take part in peer and professional mentoring, advising, intensive tutoring, real-world teaching experiences in their home county and the opportunity to enhance their teaching knowledge and appreciation of teaching,” the GSC release states.

Currently, only students enrolled in schools in just 15 of West Virginia’s 55 counties – Gilmer, Braxton, Calhoun, Doddridge, Fayette, Kanawha, Lewis, Nicholas, Pleasants, Pocahontas, Roane, Webster, Wood, Wirt and Upshur – may participate in the “Homegrown” program.

Also on Tuesday, the Upshur County Board of Education held the second public hearing on the calendar for the 2019-2020 school year; however, no one from the public signed up to make comments on the composition of that calendar during the meeting.

The board will vote on the calendar during their next meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26, at Buckhannon Academy Elementary School.

Also, during Tuesday’s meeting, BOE members unanimously approved the following personnel recommendations:


  • Rachel Stump, first grade teacher at Tennerton Elementary School, effective June 30, 2019, due to retirement.

Employment, pending appropriate certification and background check

  • Jodee Wilt as math teacher, 9-12, at B-UHS, effective 2019-2020 academic year.
  • Jordan Barr as substitute teacher, effective Feb. 13, 2019.
  • Carmel Lantz as substitute teacher, effective Feb. 13, 2019.
  • Carrie Egress as substitute aide, effective Feb. 13, 2019.
  • Amberly J. Fealy as substitute aide, effective Feb. 13, 2019.
  • Shirley Radabaugh as substitute aide, effective Feb. 13, 2019.
  • Maria Rowan as substitute aide, effective Feb. 13, 2019.
  • Pamela Yeager as substitute aide, effective Feb. 13, 2019.
  • Rebecca Hanline as substitute aide, effective Feb. 13, 2019.

Employ the following individuals as substitute bus operators, pending certification: Dylan Chidester Josh Evans, Jessica Grose and Chuck Westfall.

  • Transfers
  • CORRECTION of Jan. 22, 2019, approved agenda: employment to transfer Christina Waybright from Options Pathway teacher at Fred Eberle Technical Center to gifted teacher at Buckhannon Academy, effective for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Requests for Leave

  • -Beverly Lewis, kindergarten aide ECCAT at Union Elementary School from Feb. 1, 2019 through the remainder of the 2018-2019 school year.

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