BUCKHANNON — Upshur County Superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis-Stankus officially announced her acceptance of a position with the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) as a deputy superintendent, starting Monday, August 29, 2022. This announcement was made via press releases sent out by both WVDE and Upshur County Schools.
Dr. Lewis-Stankus earned a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from West Virginia University, a Master’s Degree in Counseling from Marshall University and an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and Special Education from West Virginia Wesleyan College (WVWC), all as a first-generation college student. She has 32 years of experience in education, having served multiple counties as a teacher, special education teacher, counselor and principal, before Upshur County Schools Superintendent for five years.
“I have been honored to serve in various capacities for the advancement of educating children. This includes my service as teacher, special education teacher, counselor, principal and county superintendent,” the newly-appointed West Virginia Deputy State Superintendent said in a press release.
“We are pleased to have Dr. Stankus join our efforts at the West Virginia Department of Education,” stated State Superintendent of Schools David L. Roach in a press release Wednesday. “She is an esteemed educator with a heart for teaching, learning and children. She will be a great asset as we continue to focus on issues of student achievement and as we advance public education in our state.”
Throughout her career, she collaborated with excellent leaders to bring Upshur County to academic and financial stability, including several programs that resulted in increased graduation and achievement rates. Dr. Lewis-Stankus led the county school system in passing the excess levy with the greatest passage rate in the history of school levies, and started a partnership with the International Center for Leadership in Education to increase effective leadership and instructional strategies in each school in the county. Other successes under her leadership noted in the press release include: bringing in programs such as Community in Schools, PAX, School-Based Health Clinics and Asset Building Collaborative (ABC), leading a county-wide initiative to provide all students with free internet connection via buses and various public locations during the COVID-19 pandemic, and developing a 10-year Comprehensive Education Facilities Plan (CEFP).
In a press release, Dr. Lewis-Stankus reflected on the teachers who influenced her career choice. “I am thankful to have had the advantage of being surrounded by nurturing teachers in my two-room schoolhouse at Tallmansville. The work we do for our students is important and it has an impact that lasts a lifetime. All students benefit from adults who care about their wellbeing and success,” said Dr. Lewis-Stankus.
Dr. Lewis-Stankus was recognized as a distinguished alumni and received the WVWC Martin Luther King Community Partner of the Year Award. She has also served as an executive member of the West Virginia Association of School Administrator Board, vice-chair of the Fred Eberle Career Technical Center Administrative Council, past president of the West Virginia Elementary and Middle School Principal Association, member of the Upshur County Development Authority, Rotary Club and Family Resource Network Board of Advisors.
Serving as Superintendent of Upshur County Schools, Dr. Lewis-Stankus shared, “It has been my pleasure to serve as the Superintendent of Upshur County Schools. I look forward to the opportunities ahead, and I am excited to promote the students and staff of this great state by serving as the newly appointed West Virginia Deputy State Superintendent of Schools.”
Dr. Lewis-Stankus will join Deputy Michele Blatt as part of the department’s executive leadership team. During a board meeting on Friday, August, the board appointed Dr. Debra Harrison as interim Upshur Co Superintendent until June 30. They will complete a search for a new super in the spring.
Watch for a future edition of The Record Delta for a sit-down interview with Dr. Lewis-Stankus.