BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Board of Education met Monday in a special session via Microsoft Teams to give members the opportunity to learn more about several proposed new positions for Upshur County Schools.
And although principals, program directors and school administrators presented information and answered questions regarding the six proposed positions, the vote to approve or reject them was ultimately tabled. This means the positions will placed on the BOE agenda for the next regular meeting, slated for 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 25 at the Buckhannon-Upshur High School auditorium.
Upshur County Schools Superintendent Dr. Sara Stankus has requested that the board approve the six proposed positions, which include a countywide transition specialist, a countywide PALS coordinator, a wellness and conditioning coach, a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) teacher at French Creek Elementary School, an office manager at Buckhannon-Upshur High School and a third assistant principal at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School.
During the previous regular Upshur County BOE meeting, held Tuesday, May 11 a proposed seven new positions appeared on the agenda seeking approval. At that time, BOE members voted to approve a portion of those items, and specifically, a request to add two permanent substitutes for elementary schools, the middle school and the high school.
During the May 11 meeting, BOE members Kristi Wilkerson, Dr. Greenbrier Almond and BOE President Dr. Tammy Samples voted unanimously to approve the new permanent substitute instructors. However, Wilkerson indicated she was uncomfortable voting for the remaining positions – which included a request for a transition specialist for Upshur County Schools, a PALS Coordinator for Upshur County Schools, a wellness and conditioning coach for Upshur County Schools and a STEAM teacher at FCES – until all BOE members were present for the vote.
Wilkerson, Almond and Samples were the only BOE members present for the May 11 meeting.
The request for those four new positions, along with two new requests – one for an office manager at Buckhannon-Upshur High School and another for a third assistant principal at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School – appeared on the BOE special session agenda Monday.
When Samples called for a vote on adding these new positions, BOE member Pat Long made a motion to add the positions and the motion received a second by Kristi Wilkerson; however, BOE Vice President Katie Loudin spoke up and said before she voted to add these new positions, she would like to review the job descriptions that would be associated with them.
“I would like to see the job descriptions and review what the specific qualifications are in writing,” Loudin said. “I would also like to see where they would be located. I feel like I need more time and to see these in writing, especially [to] see where the coordinator of the PALS Program and the transition specialist would be working together. I also want to see the responsibilities of the conditioning coach.”
Wilkerson said at the previous BOE meeting she had asked that these be considered at a future meeting where all BOE members could be present and weigh in on the issue.
“I appreciate that,” Long said.
Loudin then explained her concern.
“My hesitation is that sometimes we make jobs so big that people are unable to be successful in them,” she said. “I just need more clarity around what these people will be doing and who they will be working with – to know that the qualified people in these positions will have everything they need for success.”
“How do we judge that standard?” Long asked.
“I think that, if I am reading through something, and this person is accountable to 4,000 people, that doesn’t seem very likely for success,” Loudin answered. “So, what is the expectation there? I would prefer to see something in writing.”
“Well, I wish I would have known that,” Long said. “I will withdraw my motion then. I make a motion to table these new positions.”
The motion was seconded by Loudin and Samples said the vote for these potential new positions would be discussed during the next meeting May 25.