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Randolph West will lead the Buccaneers into the future beginning with the 2022-2023 school year. Currently, West is the assistant principal at Buckhannon-Upshur High School and will be the new principal which was confirmed during Tuesday’s Upshur County Board of Education meeting. / Photo courtesy Upshur County Schools

Upshur BOE confirms West’s appointment as new high school principal

TENNERTON – Upshur County schools have added new programs and procedures to help assure their graduating seniors are well prepared to enter the military, the workforce or college, universities or trade schools.

And on Tuesday during the Upshur County Board of Education meeting, members voted to confirm Randolph West as the new principal at Buckhannon-Upshur High School beginning July 1, 2022. He will lead B-UHS students, staff and teachers into the future. During a telephone interview with My Buckhannon on Wednesday evening, West said he is excited and prepared for the task.

“I am currently an assistant principal at Buckhannon-Upshur High School and prior to that I was an assistant principal in Mineral County in an elementary school,” West said.

West joined Upshur County Schools in September 2021 after being approved as the assistant principal at B-UHS during the Aug. 10, 2021, Upshur County BOE meeting. He said he opted to apply for the principal position because he saw the school had some challenges.

“I felt like with the experiences I bring to the table, I would be a good fit as principal at Buckhannon-Upshur High School,” West said. “I have worked in several different counties in West Virginia, and I have also worked in several schools in Virginia.”

Since he has been in West Virginia, West has worked in schools focused on improvement.

“I have worked with going through the whole process of creating leadership teams and focusing on data and looking at ways to improve instruction and improve the performance of students on assessments and student care in general,” West said. “I just felt like it was a good fit for me and a chance for me to help students and staff at Buckhannon-Upshur High School.”

West said he feels he has numerous qualities which make him the best candidate to lead the Buccaneers.

“First of all, is my work ethic,” he shared. “I am very dedicated to what I set my mind to, and I work until the job is done. I think I am a good listener, but sometimes I want to jump in and help before I listen to the whole question – but I think that is just excitement on my part. Eventually, I calm down and make sure I have caught everything people have to say. Also, I am a team player. I work well with others, and I want to help them to be successful and a part of the team; not necessarily the focus of the team.”

He knows there will be challenges and is prepared to face those head-on.

“I think one big challenge will be to obtain and retain certified staff in all of the positions,” West said. “We have had a hard time finding teachers to fill vacancies, and we need to be able to find those qualified teachers or people who are close to being qualified with certifications and then provide them the support they need to develop those skills to be effective and successful in the classroom for our students.”

The next challenge West spoke of is COVID-related.

“Although it feels like Covid is behind us, we still really have not found our new groove,” he said. “I think that will still be a challenge of balancing all the needs of the trauma that has affected our kids and staff through this whole pandemic and getting everybody back to a place where they feel supported and cared for – a place they feel they can be successful.”

West shared that his undergraduate degree is in secondary education and he taught biology in Winchester, Virginia.

“I was an athletic director in a few different divisions of Virginia for several years before moving into an assistant principal role in a large high school in Virginia,” he said. “My wife’s family is from Keyser, West Virginia, and my family is originally from Southwestern Pennsylvania. We felt we were too far away so we moved back to West Virginia to be closer to family.”

West said served as principal at Petersburg High School for about three years and then was an assistant principal at Hampshire County High School. Following that, he moved to North Fork Elementary School as principal and Keyser Primary School as an assistant principal. But West said he missed working with high-school-aged students and that is when he came to Upshur County.

“There is an aspect of high school that you do not get in elementary schools, which is the athletics and activities,” West said. “I was involved in those as a student both in high school and college and I was missing those opportunities to celebrate and be around the kids for football, basketball and baseball games.”

West said he is currently working to complete his doctorate degree and he enjoys running. He said he wants people to reach out to him at the school if they have questions.

“If we do not know people have needs, we cannot help them meet those needs,” West said.

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