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Matt Sisk
Matt Sisk

Upshur County Commission meets new School Safety and Emergency Preparedness Director

BUCKHANNON – The former director of School Safety and Emergency Preparedness for the Upshur County Board of Education introduced the Upshur County Commission to his replacement recently.

Dr. Jeff Harvey approached the Upshur County Commission during their Dec. 22 meeting to introduce commissioners to Matt Sisk. Harvey said he is confident Sisk will help move projects forward.

“We had a lot of qualified candidates come in for the position, and Matt was the top candidate,” Harvey said. “I think the school system is in good hands, and I think he’ll be a good partner with us as we go forward with a lot of our initiatives in Upshur County.”

Harvey also discussed reimbursements for a grant that funds the PRO at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School.

“What we have is the request for reimbursement for the JAG grant — that’s for the Prevention Resource Officer at the middle school,” Harvey said. “This request for reimbursement is for the 2020-2021 school year. They gave us an extension on the grant because Upshur County, like all 54 other counties, were impacted by the pandemic, and we had to do a lot more backtracking to see what we could do in the time period we were not at school. Whenever we were not at school, the PRO officer was obviously not school, but [the officer] did support us with our food deliveries and things like that.”

Harvey said the BOE was unable to fully utilize the entire grant because school did not meet in person all year.

“Because we were off of school for so long, we did not go through enough to actually utilize all of the grant, and the finance officers are aware of that at the BOE,” Harvey said. “What we did is to make sure that we stayed in compliance with the matching requirements.”

Typically, the Upshur BOE has expended all the grant funds halfway through the school year and the second half of the year was all matching money. But the uncertainty caused by the pandemic necessitated a change in plan.

“This year, I ran at 75 and 25, with each monthly request for reimbursement — that way we would always hold the match requirement and be in compliance,” Harvey said.

Harvey thanked Sisk and assistant county administrator Tabatha Perry for their help with the grant project.

“I offer my thanks to Matt, to Tabatha, and to you guys for letting me finish this because this is something that I had started before I moved away from the Board of Ed position,” Harvey said. “I’m appreciative to be able to finish up what I started there, and Matt will be taking it from here so you have a nice, smooth transition.

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