Upshur BOE votes to create 15 positions, eliminate 14 during last round of RIF/transfer period

BUCKHANNON – Upshur County Board of Education members voted unanimously to create 15 new positions – but eliminate 14 – during their meeting Tuesday at Buckhannon Academy Elementary School – a motion the group had voted to table during their March 26 meeting.

BOE members indicated following their March 26 meeting that they’d hesitated to vote on the proposed positions until they received more information about the RIFs and transfers.

The new positions include two pre-K teachers and two pre-school aides at Buckhannon Academy Elementary; one pre-K teacher at French Creek Elementary; one pre-K teacher and one pre-school aide at Union Elementary; and one pre-K teacher and one pre-school aid at Hodgesville Elementary.

In addition, positions included four PALS (Personal Alternative Learning School)/special education multi-categorical positions at Stockert Youth & Community Center, Buckhannon Academy Elementary and Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School; a behavior/academic interventionist at Buckhannon Academy Elementary; and a PALS counselor/social worker.

The BOE also voted unanimously to eliminate 14 positions but place the following instructors on the transfer list: Jennifer Drake, special education teacher at Tennerton Elementary; and OSE/homebound positions at B-UMS for Denise Hyre, Stacy Marteney, Sherry McQueen and Debbie Shapiro; OSE/homebound at B-UHS for Nicole Cerullo, Alisa Lemley Compton, Sherry Holley, Crystal Jone, Natalie Nelson Dooley, Judy Payne, Terry Sisk and Jan Craig; and French Creek Elementary School OSE/homebound Christine Hull because of programmatic delivery format changes (PALS).

The final action taken by the BOE for the RIF/transfer season was when they voted unanimously not to repost the following positions: B-UMS eighth-grade science (transfer not needed); B-UMS English Language Arts (transfer not needed); B-UMS English (due to retirement and position not needed); B-UMS special education (long-term substitute and position not needed); BAES special education (long-term substitute and position not needed); Union Elementary School special education (long-term substitute, created a position for three students and position not needed); and WDES, special education long-term substitute (position no longer needed).

Prior to voting, Upshur County Schools Assistant Superintendent Dr. Debra Harrison said the items were being presented as a continuation of the RIFs and transfers.

“This group of individuals had to be given time to ask for a hearing if they wanted, but they did not request a hearing,” Harrison said.

BOE President Dr. Tammy Samples questioned the special education positions.

“These positions, not to be reposted, special education especially, if the numbers increase, we will just add a position?” she asked.

“Yes,” said Harrison.

BOE member Alan Suder asked if approval of the list would keep Upshur County Schools within the state code requirements, and Harrison said yes.

Business manager George Carver said there would be personnel numbers available the following Tuesday during the budget session.

Also, during Tuesday’s meeting, BOE members voted to hire Scott Preston as Clerk of the Works for the Tennerton Phase II project and Hodgesville Addition – both School Building Authority Projects. Carver said most people recognize Preston from the photography studio; however, Preston has an engineering degree and worked many years in the oil industry, constructing oil rigs in the ocean in the Gulf of Mexico.

“He has been around the world working on construction projects and he is familiar with construction jobs and managing them,” Carver said. “People were not exactly lining up for the position.”

Carver said Preston is very excited about the projects and the opportunity.

“He has the experience,” he said.

These projects are scheduled to begin on or about June 1, 2019, and end no later than Sept. 1. 2019. A memorandum about the Clerk of the Works said the position is required on all SBA-funded projects and is the SBA/board on-site representation to observe the construction process for compliance with job requirements and design specifications.

Other personnel recommendations, approved unanimously by the BOE include:


  • Robert Hayes Shelton as substitute teacher, effective March 28, 2019.
  • Joseph Tallman as bus operator, effective June 30, 2019, due to retirement.
  • Amy Atwell as substitute cook, effective March 25, 2019.
  • Carmel Lantz as long-term half-time substitute multi-categorical special education teacher at Washington District Elementary, effective April 1, 2019.
  • James R. Casto as substitute custodian, effective April 4, 2019.

Employment, approval of, pending appropriate certification and background check

  • Cayla L. Collett as substitute teacher, effective April 12, 2019.
  • Daniel Hepler as extracurricular elementary chess coach at Buckhannon Academy Elementary School for the 2018-2019 school year, effective March 13, 2019.
  • William R. Groggs as substitute bus operator, effective July 1, 2019.
  • Carrie Egress as substitute secretary, effective March 27, 2019.


  • Sherry McQueen from English/language arts teacher, grade 6, at B-UMS to Options Pathway Teacher at Fred Eberle Technical Center, effective with the 2019-2020 school year.

Requests for Leave

  • Robert Carr, social studies teacher at B-UMS, intermittent leave with pay, as needed through the end of the 2018-2019 school year.
  • Denice Jeran, academic coach, family medical leave as needed through the end of the 2018-2019 school year.

Placement for field experience/observational hours within the Upshur County Schools for the purpose of completing coursework toward a teaching certification through Grand Canyon University

  • Lori Zirkle to obtain field experience hours – Union Elementary School
  • Deena Pitts to obtain field experience hours – French Creek Elementary and Buckhannon-Upshur High School.

The Upshur County Board of Education has a special meeting scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 16 at the Board of Education Office for a budget workshop.

A reconvened meeting from March 12 will be held at 7 p.m. April 16, 2019 at Buckhannon Academy Elementary. The regular Board of Education meeting will be held at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, April 16 at Buckhannon Academy Elementary School.

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