2017-07-26 / Front Page

Erich May named Morgan County Schools interim Superintendent

by Kate Evans


Erich May, McConnellsburg Middle/High School Principal, was selected as Interim Superintendent of Morgan County Schools at a special meeting last Wednesday. Erich May, McConnellsburg Middle/High School Principal, was selected as Interim Superintendent of Morgan County Schools at a special meeting last Wednesday. The Morgan County School Board announced the selection of Mc- Connellsburg Middle/High School Principal Erich May as interim School Superintendent at an 11 a.m. special meeting last Wednesday, July 19. The board voted unanimously to approve May as interim Superintendent through June 30, 2018 and signed a contract with him on Wednesday. May begins as superintendent on August 15.

“It’s an honor to be named Superintendent of Morgan County Schools. This system has talented teachers, dedicated staff, great kids and parents who value education. I look forward to working with all parties to build on the past and prepare for the future,” May said at the meeting.

May’s salary for the year will be $96,000 prorated, which is less the salary amount from July 1 to when May starts his position, said board president David Ambrose. May planned to visit Morgan County Schools a couple of days beforehand to work with Superintendent David Banks during the transition.

Banks tendered his resignation on June 6 to take a position with Berkeley County Schools. Ambrose expected Banks to be working at Morgan County Schools at least through July 30.

Impressive candidates

Board members said they were impressed with all three candidates for the post – May, Rhonda McPherson- Wilder and Jamie Harris. McPherson- Wilder is the Berkeley Springs High School special education multi-categorical with autism/math teacher. Harris is the school system’s new director of Human Resources and Maintenance and a former Berkeley Springs High School assistant principal.

Ambrose said that board officials were very pleased with May as a candidate and felt he will be a very good match for Morgan County Schools.

Ambrose said that critical factors in May’s hiring were his broad-based experience as an elementary, middle, high school and charter school principal, strong involvement in staff development, teacher training and community partnership and his coming from a rural school district and having dealt with poverty, tight budgets and helping needy families.

Board members had said previously the search for a permanent superintendent would begin January 1, 2018.

Ambrose said Thursday the board can choose to conduct a search for a permanent superintendent after January 1 or can offer May a multi-year contract as superintendent after that date.

Ambrose noted that the board is required by West Virginia Code to hire an interim superintendent now because Banks submitted his resignation after June 1.

Experience

May has been Principal of McConnellsburg Middle/ High School in Central Fulton School District, Pennsylvania since June, 2015. From April, 2013 until June, 2015 he was Principal of Hope for Hyndman Charter School, a Hyndman, Pa. K-12 charter school.

May served as Supervisor of Instruction at Trexler Middle School in the Allentown School District, Pa. from November, 2011 to April, 2013.

May was an English teacher at Bellefonte Area High School in Bellefonte, Pa. from January, 2006 to November, 2011 and was their English department chair from August, 2010 to November, 2011. May was one of 12 finalists for Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year in 2012.

Before teaching, May was news editor for The Evening Sun in Hanover, Pa. and a staff writer for The Progress in Clearfield, Pa. He has published articles in educational journals on topics that include dropout prevention, motivation and group work.

Focus

May said in a phone interview with The Morgan Messenger that his focus as Principal of Hope for Hyndman Charter School was connecting school to community, recruiting and retaining students and dealing with daily school operations.

As McConnellsburg Middle and High School Principal, May handled daily operations and served in different roles as the school was short-staffed. He said the school was “a well-oiled machine” and that he offered more values leadership than technical leadership.

May said what’s important is making school warm and inviting and a fun and joyful place for students to be and learn.

Education

May received his bachelor’s degree in English from Penn State University in 1995 and master’s degree in English from the University of Georgia in 1999. He is certified in English seven-12 and has principal pre-K-12 and superintendent certifications. May is completing his final year of his doctorate in educational leadership at the University of Pittsburgh.

Curriculum background

May said he has a strong background in curriculum and instruction development and design from each school district and also as a high school English department chair. He’s worked with teams of teachers to both write and select curriculum and has done a lot of professional development related to instructional strategies like collaborative learning and formative assessments.

“Those are some of the best practices that lead to higher levels of student engagement,” May said.

May said that he, his wife and two boys are “outdoorsy” people -- they like to hunt and fish and spend a lot of time in the garden and canoeing. His sons play basketball and baseball and are learning to golf and play guitar.

Will be listening

“What I need to do, coming into the county, is a lot of listening. I hope to hear from parents and grandparents, taxpayers and business people, civic and community organizations, groups like the Morgan County Partnership. I plan to meet with students, too,” May said.

May said that two of the things that attracted him to Morgan County are the support of community organizations and the commitment to the arts.

“I look forward to working with groups like the Morgan County Partnership and the Morgan Arts Council,” May said.

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