Upshur County Board of Education members celebrate new Upshur Stars during their recent meeting. Stars were presented to Buckhannon Academy Elementary School teachers Alicia Egress, Mandy Tenney, Brittany Squires and Brittany Bennett. Upshur County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus presented the Upshur Stars along with BAES Principal Susanne Britton, who also received recognition and an Upshur Star.

Upshur school board honors teachers, makes it easier for public to comment at meetings

TENNERTON – During Tuesday’s Upshur County Board of Education meeting, several teachers were honored for helping make Upshur County Schools a great place for learning, and the board also made it easier for the public to comment at meetings.

The four teachers recognized by Buckhannon Academy Elementary School principal Susanne Britton included Alicia Egress, first grade; Mandy Tenney, third grade; Brittany Squires, first grade; and Brittany Bennett, fourth grade.

Britton said Egress was being recognized and receiving an Upshur Star because of her dedication to the students at Buckhannon Academy.

“Mrs. Egress does not like to be recognized as a leader, but she truly is one,” Britton said. “She spends countless hours researching curriculum so that school staff is well informed, and she keeps me up to date on things. She has spent hours on rigorous curriculum design for the county. Our staff regards her with high esteem for her pedagogy skills, knowledge and rapport with students. She makes lasting connections with school families and her students.”

Britton said Tenney was being recognized for her dedication to the school and students as well.

“She is always looking for ways to make the school better and will do anything to make that happen,” Britton said. “When I needed an afterschool tutor, an LSIC chair or someone to do a duty, she is there. She goes above and beyond for her students.”

Britton next introduced Squires.

“Mrs. Squires is my tech guru and I appreciate being able to go to her when I get stuck on something,” Britton said. “She helps run the school Facebook page and Dojo, and she took the time to teach our staff how to use this communication tool when we decided to use it schoolwide. She is always offering to make flyers for our community communications and she works on our scheduling. She is always looking for ways to engage our families.”

Britton said most recently, when the school was looking to get a therapy dog, Squires volunteered to be Foster’s host family.

Finally, Britton recognized Bennett.

“Brittany Bennett has changed jobs already twice for me this year,” Britton said. “She is always willing to do whatever is necessary for the school’s success. She develops relationships with students that are deep and meaningful. She treats them like they are her own. She is truly amazing and is part of our heart and soul at BAES.”

Each of the educators recognized received an Upshur Star from Upshur County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus.

“Behind every great school and great teacher, there is a great leader,” Stankus said as she honored Britton with her own Upshur Star. “I am so proud of you. You are amazing.”

Also, during the recent meeting, school board member Patrick Long asked that the public comments and delegations part of the agenda be moved closer to the beginning of the meeting instead of so close to the end.

“That seems to be a concern for some folks,” Long said. “We have such long meetings. It takes a lot of training to be able to sit here and be attentive.”

After unanimous approval by BOE members, the public comments/delegations agenda item was moved from being the 23rd item on the agenda to following agenda item six.

BOE president Dr. Tammy Samples outlined the rules for public comments and delegations. She said that employee names were mentioned during the public comments at a previous meeting.

“That cannot be permitted again,” Samples said. “We have contacted those employees and they received apologies. Our policy is that employee or student names cannot be mentioned in a public comment session.”

Samples said if names are mentioned during public comments, the comments section will end “because we have to maintain that for our employees and our students.” Samples said she wanted to make sure that was clear.

The public comments/delegations are limited to five minutes for each speaker who registers 15 minutes prior to the commencement of the BOE meeting under the delegations and/or public comments sheet posted at the entrance to the meeting. This requirement is stipulated under Upshur County Board of Education Policy 1002.

The next regular meeting of the Upshur County BOE is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, at 6 p.m. at the Buckhannon-Upshur High School auditorium.

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