BUCKHANNON – West Virginia native Jonathan Pollock has hit the ground running as he assumes his new role as principal of Buckhannon-Upshur High School.
Pollock is taking the reins from former B-UHS Principal Eddie Vincent, who accepted the position of Upshur County Schools Director of Wellness and Child Nutrition July 1, 2020. Pollock started his position with the school system Thursday, Aug. 6.
During a phone interview with My Buckhannon Friday morning, Pollock said he attended Fairmont State, West Liberty and Salem Universities.
“I taught English and then became a curriculum specialist for RESA Region 6 up in Wheeling; I have always loved it,” he said, adding that he feels he was late selecting his profession. “My father was a schoolteacher, and I just initially neglected the idea because my father was into it.”
But Pollock said once he got into education, he learned how perfect the profession was for him and realized all the good he could do.
“It’s been my story ever since for the last 11 years,” he said. “My last job was at MTEC (Monongalia County Technical Education Center) in Morgantown.” Pollock has been the principal and director of Monongalia County Technical Education Center for the past three years, according the Upshur County School system’s Facebook page.
So, what was it that attracted Pollock to apply for the principal position at B-UHS?
Pollock said he had been engrossed in career and technical education, but when he heard about the opportunity from a couple of his friends, he said he thought the job was a ‘perfect fit’ for him.
“Given the areas I have engaged in over the years, including my career and technical experience at MTEC, the job seems tailor-made for me,” Pollock said. “It is something I can do well, and Upshur County is a great school system with wonderful people in a great community. Buckhannon is a great place to be as well.”
Another attractive point Pollock said Upshur County Schools has is the fact that they are a smaller school system.
“There is nothing wrong with being in a larger school system, but Buckhannon-Upshur High School seems like the right school for me at the right time,” Pollock said. “I couldn’t resist, and I feel lucky they wanted to hire me.”
Pollock said he finished up at MTEC on Wednesday and hopped down to B-UHS to begin on Thursday.
He shared some of his hopes and goals for B-UHS.
“I want to maintain and strengthen an already-good school,” he said. “But even good schools have the ability to improve. I want to help teachers continue their education and help them to develop in the classroom so they can be the very best they can be. I want to make sure that all students can learn and grow to the best of their ability.”
“It is not just about the ‘high-flyers,’” he added. “It is all students, and I want to see every student in Buckhannon-Upshur High School have the opportunity to be the absolute best version of themselves. That comes with relationships and rapport.”
While in Monongalia County, Pollock said he did not have the opportunity to work with the Communities in Schools program, a brand new initiative in Upshur County, but said he feels the program is absolutely vital to the success of students.
“This is going to be an important program – Communities in Schools – because we cannot do it without the support of the community and the parents,” Pollock said. “It’s a mutually beneficial situation because not only are we able to promote the wonderful things we are doing in the school, but we are able to reach out into the community and make the connections that help keep kids in school.
“It’s social or human capital that is necessary to build because it’s not up to the principal, it’s not up to the teachers, but it’s up to all of us as a whole to make this thing work and make it as efficient as possible,” he said.
Pollock said he feels that Upshur County Schools are ahead of the game in some of the requirements for re-entry into schools for the fall.
“Before I came here, I did a lot of research and Upshur County Schools has a wonderful plan in place for returning to classes in Fall,” Pollock said. “They are ready for the blended learning, as well as in-person classes, which is nice to know. It is good that technology in Upshur County is one-to-one. With the mobile wireless stations and the ability for students to access Wi-Fi from our parking lots, these are all beneficial and help keep our students on track in these crazy times.”
He said he hopes people will take the opportunity to meet and get to know him.
“I am excited to get to know the folks in the community,” he said. “I am an easygoing guy who strives to promote the educational opportunities for our students.”
Personally, Pollock said he loves music of all sorts, but said he stopped playing outside his home when his daughter was born.
“There are too many other good things to do at this point,” he said.
The superintendent’s recommendation for Pollock to be approved as B-UHS principal is on the Upshur County Board of Education agenda for Tuesday, Aug. 11. Once approved, superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus said the BOE endorsement will be retroactive to his beginning date of Aug. 6, 2020.