TENNERTON – To kick off the first Upshur County Board of Education meeting for the new fiscal year, three newly-elected board members received the Oath of Office, administered by the Honorable Judge Jacob E. Reger — Jan Craig, Sherry Dean and Roy Wager. The trio joins Dr. Tammy Samples and Pat Long on the five-person board.
Following the administration of the Oath of Office, members selected the board president and vice-president. Current president Dr. Tammy Samples will retain her position for the next two years, while Craig will serve as the board’s vice president.
BOE members also were selected to serve in the following capacities:
- Fred Eberle Technical Center Administrative Council – Patrick Long
- Stockert Youth Center Board of Directors – Dr. Tammy Samples
- Upshur County Public Library Board of Directors – Sherry Dean
- Upshur County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board – Roy Wager
With the new board officially seated, Upshur County Schools Director of Finance Jeffrey Perkins reported that during the 2021 audit, there were no findings, and he noted that was the letter ‘you want to receive.’ Members voted unanimously to accept the audit report following a motion by Dean and a second by Wager.
One action item — a memorandum of understanding between Upshur County Schools and West Virginia State University — was introduced and generated discussion among the board members.
Upshur County Assistant Superintendent Dr. Debra Harrison said the MOU would provide an administrator cohort program for the county.
“We have a teacher shortage, and that is apparent, but we found we needed more administrators because there is a shortage as well,” Harrison explained. “We worked with Dr. Blackwell at West Virginia State University to develop a cohort pilot program with them addressing the needs of leadership in our county. We hope to develop a cohort of 10 individuals who are interested in becoming leaders in the county. They will give us the program at a discounted rate, and the program will be delivered online. The purpose is to home-grow our leaders like we are hoping to do with teachers in the county.”
Harrison said as candidates complete the program, the school system would partially reimburse the cost. Then, when they take a leadership role in Upshur County Schools and agree to spend three years in the system, the remaining amount would also be reimbursed.
Upshur County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus said the program is 18 hours, entirely online, and available to those holding a master’s degree.
Craig asked what happens if someone completes the program, gets partial reimbursement and applies for a leadership role, but the administration feels the candidate is not suitable for the position.
“They would not get hired, but they would receive their partial reimbursement,” Stankus said. “The commitment is related to the leadership role.”
Samples asked where within the budget the funds would come from to cover the program’s costs. Jody Johnson, director of federal programs, said the reimbursement would likely come from Title II for tuition reimbursement.
When Samples asked for a motion to approve, no one made a motion, so the item died.
Finally, members of the Upshur County BOE voted to amend the meeting times for all Upshur County BOE meetings to 6 p.m.
The next Upshur County Board of Education meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 26, 2022, at the Buckhannon-Upshur High School auditorium.