Lesson Learned (September 16)

Remembering 9/11 20 Years Later

Lesson learned on this solemn occasion of the 20th year of 9/11, the day that changed the world: We are Upshur Strong!

Upshur County Schools Board of Education President Tammy Samples, Ed.D., led our statewide meeting of 275 elected Board of Education (BOE) members making up our West Virginia School Board Association as our Vice President. Dr. Samples showed the same gravitas at the Charleston meeting, as we gather In Remembrance of 9/11, as she exhibits at our twice monthly regular school board meetings.

How proud I am to see her leadership grow, knowing this will benefit the education of our children and grandchildren. Her days are filled as the current Director of the School of Education at West Virginia Wesleyan College and teaching in the college’s undergraduate programs. Prior to her time at Wesleyan, she taught for 16 years in the Upshur County School System.

Dr. Samples is a product of Upshur County Schools. Then she completed undergraduate studies in education at West Virginia University in 1991. Always striving, Dr. Samples earned two Masters from Marshall University—in Reading in 2000 and in Leadership Studies in 2004. Loving education, Dr. Samples completed doctoral studies at WVU in 2013.

Our BOE members reflected on a poem that a New York classroom composed in 2002. All were impacted by that infamous 9/11 attack on America:

“...After September 11th, we wake up with a list of ‘Remembers’:

Remember to greet the sun each morning

Remember to enjoy every meal

Remember to thank your parents for their hard work

Remember to honor those who keep you safe

Remember to value each person you meet

Remember to respect other’s beliefs...”

Thank you, Dr. Samples, not only for your local leadership as our local BOE President, but also for your aspirational leadership for our West Virginia School Board Association. These are challenging times. You are our Vice President now, but soon you will lead our state organization as our President! You are the cream of the crop. As we say in our rural county, “Cream rises.”

At this statewide conference we earned seven hours of credit, tackling major topics under the umbrella of “Crisis, Controversy & Communication” that will improve our service. I am particularly pleased to note that this weekly newspaper column, now numbering #413, has become a way to improve communication. Likewise, when citizens come to our BOE meetings as delegations to express opinions on ways to improve the education and safety of our students, I see that as evidence of community engagement that benefits our school system. Certainly I am very pleased that our local Upshur Buckhannon Board of Health consults frequently with our BOE on ways to curb the spread of COVID-19, including improving vaccination rates and mask wearing protocols.

We are picking up the slack and picking up the pace of improvement for our Upshur County Schools 20 years later after 9/11. Truly we are living up to our motto: EXPECT EXCELLENCE.


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