Dr. Sara Lewis-Stankus, our vibrant and accomplished Superintendent of Upshur County Schools, sounded strangely lost for words as we conferred prior to a recent Board of Education meeting. Finally, she sputtered: “George Carver plans to retire!”
Now my turn to be befuddled: “Upon my word, Sara, what will we do? Issue a retiring freeze!”
But alas, our long-term Upshur County Schools Business Manager has announced his retirement effective at the end of our academic year in June 2020. The word “trustworthy,” defined as “able to be relied on as honest or truthful,” has a picture of George Carver next to it in the dictionary. He is the epitome of the professional management capabilities every school district needs to be an efficient enterprise.
For my 10 years serving as a member of the Board of Education, I have come to value George’s professional opinion. For sure I have made him somewhat anxious from time to time. For example, George gulped and caught his breath slowly when I moved action on an expensive purchase of a new scoreboard for our Freal “Red” Crites Stadium at Buckhannon-Upshur High School. Maybe I put our budget in the red. But George never let on that I made his job more difficult. He just quietly said afterward, “We can only spend a dollar once.”
I can set my clock by George! We both greatly enjoy walking for exercise. He will be crossing West Virginia Wesleyan College campus with his graceful wife and faithful dog just as I come jaunting along. We have a common destination to circle the Elizabeth J. “Binky” Poundstone Riverwalk. At least I know that I can still find our soon-retired esteemed Business Manager in the future. May your healthy lifestyle mean many more years of abundant living, George.
When I ran for election to the Upshur County Schools BOE, I felt that I knew a thing or two about finance. After all, I served on the Veterans Affairs Finance Committee with our billion-dollar budget for eight Pennsylvania VAMCs, one Delaware VAMC, and the Clarksburg, West Virginia, VAMC. But let me salute George Carver, who teaches our BOE every spring about public finance with state and federal dollars. Without exaggeration, his workshop has more content competently explained than anything I have ever experienced. We get one more dose of George’s medicine this April!
While I expect a grateful community to thank George Carver for a lifetime of service here and in other school systems, I must say that public trust is a major accomplishment of the tenure of our Business Manager. We have passed levies during his career! In West Virginia that says a lot. And if we build modern school facilities for our children and grandchildren to gain an equal opportunity for a 21st-century education, we will have George to thank because he built our fiscal foundation one sharp accounting pencil line at a time.
Lesson Learned—finish Upshur Strong like George Carver!