BUCKHANNON – New beginnings are on the horizon for Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School and its long-time Principal Renee Warner.
“I have started teaching math for elementary school teachers at Alderson Broaddus University,” she told My Buckhannon recently. “I started doing that this summer and plan to continue doing that into this next academic year.”
Warner said teaching the summer class reignited her passion for the classroom, and she is leaving her post as B-UMS principal.
“When a position opened up for teaching in Bridgeport, God opened the door for me and showed me a new path,” Warner said. “It will be a lot less time and a lot less stress. I will also be teaching in the same school as my baby sister, which will be so much fun.”
The position Warner applied for in Bridgeport is teaching Algebra support and Geometry support to students who need a little more help in those areas.
“I am not approved by the Harrison County Board of Education yet,” Warner said. “I must be approved by the BOE at their meeting on August 12, 2019 before my taking the job is official. School in Harrison County does not begin until August 22 with kids.”
Although she will miss the staff, teachers and students at B-UMS, she said she wants everyone to know, “change can be a good thing.”
“It will be good to have a fresh face here at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School,” Warner said. “This move will be good for my family at this time – to have me reel back a little bit and do something different.”
Warner spent 13 years at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School as principal and taught math for 17 years – beginning with four years in Morgantown.
“I spent 12 years teaching math at Buckhannon-Upshur High School and one year teaching math at the middle school,” Warner said.
Through those many years, Warner received many accolades for her time in the school and classrooms.
“I was Teacher of the Year at B-UHS and Upshur County Schools in 2006 and 2007 – ironically, that was the year I became principal at B-UMS,” she said. Warner was named the West Virginia National Distinguished Principal in 2018 and was named to the ‘Who’s Who Among American Teachers’ in 2004, 2005 and 2006.
Warner grew up in Morgantown but has lived in Buckhannon for many years and considers it her home.
She said her family is not moving from the Buckhannon area, even though she will be teaching out of the county.
“We are not moving – we are firmly entrenched in the area for now,” she said. “I am not quite ready to retire. My husband’s parents are here. I am the pianist for the First United Methodist Church in Buckhannon, and I have done Vacation Bible School there. I am also a board member of Brushstroke Ministries and am a member of the Breath of God Worship that meets in the gym sanctuary at the Way of Holiness every Sunday at 8 a.m. I am on the worship team there. I sing and play the piano.”
Warner said the Brushstroke Ministries and Breath of God Worship were instrumental in getting the B-UMS pantry off the ground.
“Starting a backpack program was a passion of mine – my membership in those areas helped us to get that backpack program started here. That is one of my favorite things I have been able to do,” she said.
She said her husband, Russ Warner, is the coach of the archery and air rifle team.
“I will continue to work with him on that,” Warner said.
Warner said being principal at B-UMS was a pleasure for her – and offers her best wishes to the teachers, staff and students at B-UMS.
“I told my staff that this move is because God really set on my heart that I was to do some changing,” Warner said. “I want them to listen to that voice inside of them as they move forward in their lives and know that I have loved them fiercely, and I continue to do that. I will look forward to seeing them in Buckhannon, and I wish them all the best. I pray for a beautiful school year for them all.”
“I have loved working in Upshur County,” Warner added. “The school system has some of the finest, most dedicated and most compassionate educators I have ever known. I am grateful for all of it and better for knowing them. It’s a thrilling time for me, but it’s still bittersweet.”
The position for principal at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School was posted last week, and her resignation from the position is listed on the Upshur County BOE agenda for approval during their meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 6.
Upshur County Superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus said the Upshur County BOE is looking for an individual who is an instructional leader to fill Warner’s shoes.
“This individual must be student-focused and must help move the school forward by implementing the tenets of the ICU program that has proven successful at B-UMS and many middle and high schools throughout the nation,” Stankus said. “This will require someone who can collaborate with the staff, colleagues and national experts and the public to ensure that every aspect of the school day is a focus on learning.”
Stankus said all principals in Upshur County make efforts to include families as part of the learning experience.
“At B-UMS and all schools, we want to promote a positive school spirit and teamwork,” she said. “We want to work diligently to ensure that our teachers and staff are equipped to be able to do the important work they are charged to do in our schools.”
Stankus said she is sure everyone in the Upshur County school system will miss Warner.
“But we are happy for her and glad she is going to follow her calling to return to the classroom,” Stankus said. “We hope she experiences joy every day in the work she is doing and feels gratitude that she has the opportunity to have a positive impact on so many young folks.”
Stankus said Warner has a passion for teaching math and a kind and caring spirit.
“I know she will change lives and help students to see the relevance of math in real world practice,” Stankus said. “We thank her for all that she has done for the students and families of Upshur County.”