TENNERTON – This Thursday, Upshur County Schools officials began their search for a principal for a new Buckhannon-Upshur High School to lead the Buccaneers beginning July 1, 2022.
During the Upshur County Board of Education meeting Tuesday at B-UHS, board members voted to accept the resignation of current B-UHS Principal Jonathon Pollock, who has served at the helm since August 2020.
During a phone interview with Upshur County Schools Superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus and assistant superintendent Dr. Debra Harrison, the two administrators said they have been working on the notice of vacancy for the principal of B-UHS effective with the beginning of the 2022-2023 academic year.
“Our plan is to post the position for at least two weeks so we can do a national search,” Stankus said. “Of course, we are looking for someone with leadership skills and looking for a total of 11 standards which are listed in our posting.”
Stankus said some of the qualities they will require when hiring include a candidate with effective, professional interpersonal and collaborative skills; someone who will work with community members and entities; and work within Upshur County Schools’ strategic plan.
“We have the mission and goals of the strategic plan developed very well,” Stankus said. “We will be an empowerment district; that is one of the items we will be looking for, including a candidate with strong instructional leadership. This person has to be an instructional leader as we work to improve our academic achievement and student engagement.”
They said they are searching for someone who is a leader who sustains what Mr. Pollock has already set up.
“Mr. Pollock has set up a safe and positive climate at Buckhannon-Upshur High School and he has worked to establish a high-performing culture,” Stankus said.
“We are looking for a leader who is going to move forward with our plan that is open to students who want to finish B-UHS with their high school diploma as well as an associate degree,” Harrison added. “We also want someone committed to helping students receive CTE (community and technical education) credentialing for those who are not college-bound and those who want to have the resources and skills to stay in their community. We want someone who is committed to those tenets as well.”
Stankus said finding the candidate that is a perfect fit is critical because B-UHS is the only high school in Upshur County.
“Our students do not have a choice when it comes to their secondary education with only one middle school and one high school,” Stankus said. “That is one of the reasons we want to offer students the best experience during their secondary years.”
“We want to find someone who is a collaborative leader because it is important for the middle school staff and the high school administrative staff to collaborate very closely in academic and CTE offerings to be sure that there is a smooth transition in the entire process moving from the middle school to the high school and maintaining those degrees of accountability and academic performance in doing the things that need to be done in the area of CTE,” Harrison said. “We want someone who is a collaborator.”
Another quality they are looking for is someone who can collaborate with the community.
“This leader has to be really involved with music, with sports and with all aspects of what happens in the high school setting,” Stankus said. “It is a really exciting place to be, and the energy of the young people makes B-UHS a unique environment. Truly, there is something happening there every night of the week and every weekend. This position is very demanding, of course.”
Stankus said the top candidate will be an innovative leader who can design curriculum and learning experiences alongside current staff.
“It might mean those learning experiences happen outside of the campus,” Stankus said. “It might mean as juniors and seniors, our students would be going to a college campus to attend school. We may have dual-credit and advanced placement coursework where students can earn credit for an associate degree while they are in high school. We have to have someone with that mindset.”
On Monday, Pollock confirmed in a phone interview that he planned to resign as B-UHS principal at the completion of this academic year.
“It has been a crazy two years, and I have done everything I can to keep this wonderful school together and intact,” Pollock said. “I just need a break and I am looking forward to getting back into the classroom.”
Pollock said he has no plans to leave Upshur County, saying he believes the best choice for him and his family is to step down from the position at the end of the year. He is an English teacher and has been a school administrator for the last five years, having come to Buckhannon from MTEC in Morgantown.
“Stepping down from [the position of] principal at B-UHS is my choice and one I am making for my life and livelihood,” Pollock said. “I thoroughly love the people here and appreciate the chance to work with such wonderful individuals. But at this stage in my life, I am looking to simplify.”
Information about the upcoming position of principal at B-UHS is available on the Upshur County Schools website at upshurschools.com under employment opportunities. Harrison said the application for employment may be completed electronically.