Lesson Learned (January 20)

A lesson learned serving as an elected member of the Upshur County Schools Board of Education is that we remain lifelong learners. That, of course, is part of our Mission as a public school district: “The Mission for Upshur County Schools is to provide academic preparation, social responsibility, employability and A DESIRE FOR LIFELONG LEARNING.”

We have received a memorandum from W. Clayton Burch, West Virginia State Superintendent of Schools, that we passed our task to provide a thorough and efficient education for our students. We have earned County Approval Status and Accreditation with FULL APPROVAL for the 2021-22 school year.

That feels good. But like Sisyphus, who is a figure from Greek mythology as king of Corinth, we must complete our task again and again. Sisyphus passes multiple tests, sometimes with trickery. The joke is on him because he gets his comeuppance. Zeus deals him the eternal punishment of forever rolling a boulder up a hill in the depths of Hades. Every time the rock nears the top of the mountain, it rolls back down. Now Sisyphus must start over!

Thus, in real life, West Virginia Code #28-2E-5 provides the West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) will annually review information for each county. There are multiple measures of student performance and county operating efficiency. We succeed this year, but our BOE must start over next year.

Our efficiency indicators are…


Career Technical Education

Federal Programs

Special Education

Universal Pre-K School Readiness




Official Collections

County Board of Education Member Effectiveness




Child Nutrition

The West Virginia School Board Association (WVSBA) helps our five-member local board keep current with educational sessions throughout the year, as well as special consultations to Upshur County from time to time. The WVSBA rightfully calls itself “WV’s citizen voice for progressive public education.” We have been well served by Executive Director Howard M. O’Cull, Ed.D., who is retiring. Tammy Samples, Ed.D., our own Upshur County BOE President, serves as Vice President of the WVSBA Executive Board.

From its inception in 1952, the WVSBA organization has served the purpose of working to promote “the advancement of public education in West Virginia, and to study and seek to attain effectiveness and constructive school board membership…” (WVSBA Constitution, Article II). I am pleased that we meet requirements for operational effectiveness in Upshur County. Our pursuit of a generational construction of a new Buckhannon-Upshur Career Technical High School, as well as the re-imagining of Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School, indicates the seriousness of our pursuit of excellence.

Certainly, my lesson learned this week is that we need to keep our Upshur County Schools Motto—EXPECT EXCELLENCE—ever before us. The ideal for our students remains to be high achievers and high performers in life. The foundation that we build is solid.

I like the widely quoted observation of Isaac Newton: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Our students gain opportunities to be creative, innovative and high achievers because of what we do today by meeting our efficiency requirement.


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