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Upshur Board of Education President Dr. Tammy Samples announces a candidate forum for the Upshur County Schools superintendent position at Tuesday's regular board meeting. Also pictured is board vice president Jan Craig. / Photo by Katie Kuba

Upshur Board of Education announces May 3 superintendent candidate forum

TENNERTON – The Upshur County Board of Education is asking for input from county residents as they narrow their search for a new superintendent of Upshur County Schools.

The board of education will host a candidate forum at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 3 in the Culpepper Auditorium of the Virginia Thomas Law Center for the Performing Arts at West Virginia Wesleyan College. The forum will be facilitated and moderated by the Buckhannon-Upshur Youth Leadership Association.

At Tuesday’s regular board meeting, president Dr. Tammy Samples said community members may submit a question or questions on any education-related topic. In order to be considered, the questions may be emailed to Samples at tjsamplesboe@gmail.com before or on May 1, 2023.

Following a special meeting Friday, during which the board conducted superintendent interviews, Samples told My Buckhannon the board had spoken with three individuals they had selected from a larger pool of candidates.

Samples provided more detailed information Tuesday.

“We have started the process for the next superintendent,” she said. “We did meet with three candidates last week. We are going to hold a candidate forum. It will be May 3 at 6 p.m. in the Culpepper Auditorium on the campus of West Virginia Wesleyan. Those three candidates will be there. They’ll give a brief introduction, and then there will be some questions.”

Samples said the public may submit questions for consideration to her email but noted that it’s impossible for every question submitted to be asked.

“Community members can submit questions to an email address, my email address – tjsamplesboe@gmail.com, and just of note, we will not be able to ask every question that comes to us,” Samples said. “The questions will be vetted by a group, and then we’ll determine which ones will be asked.”

Samples said the B-UHS Youth Leadership Association will assist with the forum, and board member Daya Wright said students were looking forward to the opportunity.  

“There’s going to be a moderator and then three students who are going to ask the questions that will be vetted by the school board,” Wright said. “It will be very similar to the one we had five years ago, and the students are very excited about that, so we hope that you will proffer lots of important community questions.”

Samples said the approach proved popular when the board began searching for a candidate in 2018.

“This was very well-received during our last search, and we had received several messages asking if we were going to do it again, so we, as a board, decided that we would do that again,” Samples said. “There are three candidates, none of which are from Upshur County – I think that’s all we will say at this point.”

Samples said Wednesday that the board was not yet prepared to release the candidates’ names.

During its March 21 meeting, the board voted to post the superintendent position following an executive session. Before that, in early February, board members voted to appoint current Interim Superintendent of Upshur County Schools Dr. Debra Harrison interim superintendent for another year – through June 30, 2024 – with the same terms and conditions.

However, board members later rescinded the appointment because it did not comply with West Virginia Code.

Harrison was tapped as interim superintendent after former Upshur County Superintendent Dr. Sara Stankus resigned to become a deputy superintendent for the state of West Virginia.

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