2017-07-12 / Front Page

Five candidates in line for superintendent job

Group wants super with focus on collaboration
by Kate Evans

The Morgan County School Board had two representatives from the Morgan County Partnership offer public comments at their July 5 meeting about the qualities and qualifications they’d like to see in a new county school superintendent as board members conduct their search. The board received no written comments.

School Superintendent David Banks resigned at their June 6 meeting to accept a position with Berkeley County Schools as assistant superintendent in charge of special education. The effective date of his resignation is still undetermined.

Morgan County Partnership representative Kristin Willard said at the meeting that their organization has had a great working relationship with Banks and previous Morgan County School Superintendents Dr. Steven Paine and David Temple during their history in the county.

Partnership staff and board members hoped that the new superintendent would have some working knowledge of community partners and understand how they all work together to recognize where the problems are and pull together resources to help solve them, Willard said.

The Morgan County Partnership is one entity among many local groups and organizations that work together.

Willard said it would be helpful if the new superintendent came from a small area, but if they didn’t that they know how to work with community subsets so “everyone buys into decision making.”

The Morgan County Partnership works with schools on the Pride and Asset surveys, which provide data for them to apply for grant funding such as the school-based mental health grant. It was important to continue that community collaboration, she said.

A role model

Willard said Banks had done a great job and suggested that the school board look at him as a role model for what they wanted in a new superintendent.

Morgan County Partnership board chairperson Cindy Largent-Hill noted that Superintendent Banks knows the kids by name and they’re comfortable with him and he’s comfortable with them.

Kids feel a sense of love and commitment and that personal touch, which is important.

“Schools aren’t just reading, writing and arithmeticthey’re a social service agency. The state of family and children is in crisis,” Largent-Hill said.

She said Morgan County’s sense of community is unique.

“We may be small, but we’re mighty. We care,” Largent-Hill said.

School board vice-president Aaron Close said at the meeting that they hoped to get a good pool of applicants. “The bar is set very high because of Mr. Banks,” Close noted.

Reviewing applications

Close said on Monday morning that the school board has received five applications for the superintendent position, which they are currently reviewing. They have not determined the number of finalists for the job yet.

Close said that the board is attempting to arrange interviews with some candidates this Saturday morning. The board would meet in open session and then go into executive session to interview each of the candidates.

Close doesn’t expect a decision on the hiring by a July 18 board meeting and said school officials will likely have another special meeting related to the search.

Committee appointments

The Morgan County School Board also approved their annual organizational designations and advisory board committee appointments at the meeting. All school board members chose to remain on the boards and committees on which they have been serving.

Board vice-president Close and John Rowland continue to serve on the building and grounds committee.

Board members Laura Smith and Rowland remain on the athletics committee.

Board president David Ambrose and board member Pete Gordon continue serving on the curriculum and instruction committee and the community relations committee.

Other boards, councils

Board member Gordon will continue serving on the James Rumsey Technical Institute Administrative Council.

Ambrose remains on the Morgan County Fair Board.

Close continues serving on the Morgan County Parks and Recreation Board. He is currently its president.

Rowland remains on the Community Corrections Board and the Morgan County Extension Service Board.

Smith continues as the school board representative on the Morgan County Partnership’s board of directors.

Policy development

The school board had the first reading of a vacation policy which had to be slightly revised due to the reduction of employee contractual days from 261 days to 255 days. The school board will have a second reading and vote on the policy revision at a later meeting.

CNB recognition

CNB president and CEO Mark Harrell was recognized by the school board for his role in obtaining the $1 million no-interest Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB) loan for Morgan County Schools that will finance the local share the Berkeley Springs High School Building C & D renovations project.

Harrell said the CNB board of directors’ decision to take on the QZAB loan was unanimous. CNB receives a tax credit and no interest from the loan, which will be paid back over 15 years.

Board member Close expressed the board’s appreciation and noted that CNB is “the definition of a community bank.”

Student extra miler

Berkeley Springs High School incoming sophomore Joseph Warrenfeltz was recognized at the June 6 Morgan County School Board meeting for all of his help at the high school MCAfter3 afterschool program during the 2016-2017 school year. Warrenfeltz stayed afterwards to help with clean-up, taking down tables and chairs and other tasks.

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