BUCKHANNON – Upshur County Schools is welcoming one of its newest staff members, Jeffrey Perkins, who will be the treasurer and financial director as George Carver retires from this position.
Perkins sat down with My Buckhannon Thursday evening and shared a little bit about himself – telling why this position is a great fit for him. Perkins said he decided to apply for the position because of his previous experience in the financial world.
“I was the comptroller for the West Virginia National Guard, where I dealt with a lot of the same principles and techniques. It’s just a matter of applying those policies with the Upshur County Board of Education,” Perkins said. “I have students in the Upshur County Schools, I have children who have went to school in Upshur County and I retired from the military.”
Perkins said the position interested him because it gives him the opportunity to improve the quality of education in Upshur County.
“I worked for the Boy Scouts of America at the Summit Bechtel Reserve (located in Glen Jean, W.Va.) which is the largest youth education center in the country, possibly the world,” Perkins said. “I got to deal with youth from around the world before retiring. That gave me the opportunity to bring all those skills together in one place, close to my home and be a part of the community and make education better for the youth of Upshur County.”
He said he has lived in Upshur County his entire life, however, he said with the military he was sometimes stationed out of the country – but always had a home here and considers Upshur County his home.
Perkins has been working side-by-side with George Carver for more than a month to become comfortable in his new position. He said he is looking forward to some of the challenges this new position will offer.
“Following Mr. Carver will be a challenge – he is a role model and has been a great mentor to me,” Perkins said. “I see our relationship moving forward. There are processes and things that are happening in the future and he has told me how those will play out, but until you actually sit down and go through the end of year budget preparation, it will be a new experience. I have done budgets and such, but the mechanics for the board of education for the state of West Virginia are a little different.”
Getting back into the philosophy of budget management is something he said he has enjoyed.
“In the military, it’s how you spend your money to make sure you get the most value for your bucks, and I want to make sure we continue with that,” Perkins said. “George has done a great job, and he is well respected among other treasurers in the state, and he has connected me with a number of those who could help me if I need answers to questions.”
Perkins said he graduated from Upshur County Schools and went to a variety of colleges in West Virginia, earning a bachelor and master’s degree.
“I am a black belt in Lean Six Sigma, which deals with improving processes,” Perkins said. “So, I get to use all of this education that was afforded to me by the military to give back to my local community and I do look forward to that.”
Perkins said before applying for the job, he thought he might be ready to retire.
“That lasted a couple of months. I am not ready to retire. I have really enjoyed this opportunity and look forward to a number of exciting years as I move forward,” he said.
When asked if the current COVID-19 pandemic and how it has changed all the processes of education makes him leery, Perkins laughed.
“I am excited. I always considered myself a change agent – a change for the better,” Perkins said. “With the current COVID-19 crisis, we have had to do home learning, and we have moved fast. There have been a lot of lessons learned and there are more lessons to learn – I am excited to be a part of that. I get to be on both sides. I have students at home including a second-grader and a ninth-grader, and I get to be on this side and be involved in how we implement this new method of education. I think that gives me a unique perspective on some of the nuances of implementing that.”