BUCKHANNON – Upshur County Board of Education members focused their efforts on filling positions throughout the county during their meeting Tuesday at the Upshur County BOE office.
Members voted unanimously to hire Michelle Fleming as the principal of Union Elementary School.
Fleming is a U.S. Army veteran who has seven years of experience in the classroom as well has 17 years of administrative experience. She was the co-host of the international award-winning television series, “Fly Rod Chronicles” with her husband Curtis Fleming, and she lists her hobbies as outdoor adventures, reading and spending time with her family.
“Hopefully, tonight will be her official acceptance,” superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus said. “We are recommending to the board tonight that she be hired as the principal of Union Elementary tonight. She has two beautiful daughters. We are really excited to welcome her aboard.”
Fleming thanked the board for the welcome and added it was “her honor and pleasure to be at the BOE meeting.”
“I am so excited to start this adventure,” Fleming said.
Vanessa Perkins was selected to chair the Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan Committee.
“Mrs. Perkins is a mother and has served on many leadership boards,” said Stankus. “She also helped get our backpack program started at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School. We are really excited to have her lead our Community Connection with our 10-year-plan.”
The BOE also appointed Kenna Leonard to serve on the Upshur County Public Library Board for the 2019-2020 academic year. Leonard graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan College with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. She worked four years in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Ruby Memorial Hospital and two years at Akron Children’s Hospital.
She is married to Dr. Raymond Leonard, a local pediatrician for Community Care of West Virginia. She and her husband have two children, Reis and Kenzie, who attend Upshur County Schools. Leonard enjoys volunteering in the school system, attending her children’s school events and traveling.
During Tuesday’s meeting, BOE members heard an update from facilities director Tim Derico about summer maintenance. Derico told the Board that most classrooms had the carpet removed.
“The paint crew is still going,” Derico said. “They finished at the high school Tuesday and will work on Washington District on Wednesday and finish with Union. They are in line to be able to finish everywhere.”
BOE President Dr. Tammy Samples asked Derico to provide an estimate on how many classrooms in the county still need carpet removed and replaced with tile by the next meeting. Derico said Washington District Elementary is the only school where classrooms still have carpet and added that some offices in Union Elementary are still carpeted. He said the goal was to remove the carpeting and replace it with tile in all classrooms before the start of the school year.
Finally, George Carver, Upshur County Schools Business Manager, told BOE members the West Virginia Legislature voted to approve the education bill during a special session, saying the bill will have a positive impact on the budget.
“There is one remaining appropriations bill that has not been passed – it is a procedural matter – at some point in the next few days or weeks, the Legislature will come back and pass the appropriations bill to fund some of these changes,” Carver said. “The preliminary numbers are out for the state aid for the upcoming year, but they are reluctant to release those numbers until the appropriations bill is officially passed. There is no anticipation of any holdup, but you never know with the Legislature.”
Carver also asked the BOE to change their previous agreement to purchase three buses. He explained that after talking to their bus vendor in Parkersburg, he feels the best route would be to lease/purchase six new buses, instead of buying the three buses.
“When I first heard this, I thought we didn’t want to do it because it sounded crazy,” Carver said. “But the more they talked about it the more sense it made. If we do this now, it will have a positive impact on our state aid allotment to purchase buses down the road. The value of our fleet of buses that is used to calculate our replacement money has gone down over the years. The amount of money has declined because we have an older fleet of buses.
“As we fall behind on replacing busses, we get less state aid. If we were to purchase six buses now, we would begin to strengthen that schedule and start to see more bus replacement money down the line.”
BOE members voted to lease/purchase six new school buses.
The next regular meeting of the Upshur BOE is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019 at the Upshur County BOE Office.