BUCKHANNON — As everyone is in full swing getting ready for the upcoming school year, the Upshur County Board of Education (BOE) took time to sit down with BOE Attorneys of Dinsmore for a four-hour training recap on Tuesday, August 2 at the board office.
Head attorney for the training, Jason Long expressed, “Creating a strong Board of Education for everyone to work together for the children’s best interest is our main purpose.” During the PowerPoint training, Board members were presented the opportunity to ask any questions and express any concerns they have with their specific local Board. “We don’t represent the Board members, nor do we as attorneys represent the superintendent. We represent in what we believe is the best interest of the Board of Education.”
Brainstorming on how to help children learn better or help the interest to boost in students after the COVID-19 pandemic and virtual learning is a struggle for the teachers and Board members. Students just aren’t interested in learning like we did before the pandemic. What can be done in order to help students become interested in learning again?
With new board members and this being their first special meeting, members took the time to introduce themselves and what made them want to be part of the board of education.
President, Dr. Tammy Samples taught in Upshur County for 16 years while working on her Doctrine position then moved to higher education. At the time, there were no practicing educators for any length of time on the board. With nieces and nephews in the school system, she thought their needed to be an educator’s voice. She is now on her eleventh year in a board member’s position. “Two years of teacher strikes, and two years of a pandemic has really made it difficult to create communitarian relationships, due to the seclusion and being in such a high position. There’s just so much you are responsible for with being only one person. That’s why I always make sure to focus on putting the kids first. That is most important to me.”
Vice President, Jan Craig has been in the Upshur County School system full time for 32 years. Her last 15 years were as the special education coordinator for the Middle School and High School and 504 coordinators for the county. She was also the West Virginia Education Association (WVEA) President for Upshur County for 26 years and worked in North Central West Virginia doing grievance hearings. “I ran for the board of education for Upshur County because some things in the county were great, but there’s always room for. I see things from a little different perspective. I have seen it and I have been there, but when you do what you know is right in your heart then you can make a positive difference.” Craig started in teaching in kindergarten and is Elementary certified in specialization in Kindergarten and Pre-school. She also has a master’s degree in gifted, in Learning Disabilities and in Education Leadership.
Roy Wager started his education career as a substitute teacher his first year after graduation. His degree was in secondary education social studies but struggled finding a job. He then decided to go back and get his certification in Elementary as a third and fourth grade teacher, then became the Elementary Principal. He retired in 2012 then came back as a superintendent. He then retired a second time in 2018. He ran for the board because his wife who just recently retired from secondary from the High School and he saw what she was going through personally and with a group of teachers. She had the toughest time with virtual learning while giving it her all to try to help the students learn, but they just weren’t engaged without the hands-on learning. “I even personally took school supplies to students’ houses and the morale was just horrible. The students and the teachers were just frustrated. I want to help.”
Sherry Dean expressed, “I want to be part of the solution, not the problem. We all need to work together to ensure everything is best for the children.”
The next board of education meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 9 at 6 p.m. at the Buckhannon-Upshur High School. The board goals will be presented during this meeting.