By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
It was a much shorter meeting for the Tucker County Board of Education with graduation being behind them. The board has been meeting via ZOOM to adhere to social distancing guidelines due to COVID-19. Board President Tim Turner called the meeting to order acknowledging the presence of board members Cathy Hebb and Jessica Wamsley, along with Vice President Daniel “Chopper” Evans. Absent from this session was board member Christopher Gross.
With no delegations or public comment, Turner acknowledged the receipt of a notice of intent to homeschool from the family of a ninth grade student for the 2020-21 school year. Wamsley made a motion to accept the consent agenda items with a second by Hebb. These items consisted of the minutes from both the budget hearing and regular board session held on May 18.
Superintendent Alicia Lambert had several recommendations to be considered by the members. Lambert first recommended accepting the resignation from Vice Principal at Tucker Valley Elementary School, Ernest Gooding. Evans made a motion to accept with a second from Wamsley before Turner opened the floor for discussion. “I’m really sad that we lost this one,” said Hebb. “I think he did a lot of good at that school and a lot of kids looked up to him, I’m just disappointed,” she added. Turner then took a vote with Evans, Wamsley, and Turner voting to accept the resignation with Hebb voting against.
Lambert requested to accept the retirement of Jaqueline Roy, sixth grade teacher at TVEMS, which all board members agreed on. “I always miss those who retire because they have a wealth of knowledge they take with them,” said Turner. Moving into service personnel, it was requested to accept the resignation of Jenny Lipscomb for a cook at Energy Express along with the hiring of Vickie Smith, substitute teacher, Marcilla Hebb, Itinerant School Nurse BSN at Tucker County High School and Davis Thomas Elementary Middle School, and Anne Farmer, counselor at DTEMS, all of which will be subject to background checks and would begin August 19. All members voted to accept the requests by the Superintendent.
Continuing within personnel, under extracurricular employment, Lambert suggested the hiring of Carmon DiBacco as head coach for the middle school football, Christine Ward as a special education teacher for the summer of 2020, and Rose Freeman as a cook for the energy express program, which approved with a motion from Hebb and second from Evans and all in favor. Professional transfer requests for the 2020-21 school year consisted of a request from Ronda Adkins as school counselor at TVEMS and Kimberly Wamsley, school nurse at TVEMS, both effective August 19, 2020. The motion passed with unanimous agreement.
Lambert presented a summer authorization request that is typically done annually to allow the superintendent to accept resignations, post positions, and hire employees, pending board approval at the next meeting, effective June 2 through July 31. “This makes it available for us to fill positions a little faster,” Lambert explained. Evans made a motion to approve with a second by Hebb and all in favor.
A budget adjustment was presented for review, followed by a financial statement and four memorandums of understanding or contracts with Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College for the 2020-21 school year. It was agreed to accept these documents as presented with no discussion taking place.
New business began with a motion for authorization for continuation to explore the process of transfer of the property between Tucker County Board of Education, The Woodlands Group, and the Tucker County Development Authority. This item was agreed upon by all board members.
The third and final reading of the early graduation policy was presented with a unanimous agreement to approve the policy as presented. The second reading of the open enrollment policy followed on the agenda with Lambert stating the board office has not received any questions or comments relating to this policy.
The West Virginia Department of Education requested each county board adopt a resolution referring to charter public schools. “That is what the state is asking because charter schools are so very new to our state,” Lambert explained. The state has adopted a policy and extended these resolutions to the county requesting the counties vote in favor. She further explained that since this is a resolution, it is not required to perform the three readings prior to approval. The resolution was then accepted with a unanimous vote by all members.
Hebb asked if any feedback was received regarding the graduation ceremony held last week. Lambert responded that several individuals commented on social media in addition to a few calling the office to thank the board of education for the work that went into the ceremony. “They felt like everyone, the town included, did a fabulous job of really trying to make the seniors a special ceremony to remember for what we had to work with,” said Lambert. Evans added that Commissioner Jon Bush expressed gratitude to the board and will be making an official statement relating to graduation at his upcoming meeting. He continued by thanking Tucker County Hgh School Principal Stephen Cosner and Vice Principal William Shahan, the Graduation Committee, City of Parsons, the Parsons Volunteer Fire Department, and all involved with the event. Turner stated, “It does seem like everyone was really impressed and very appreciative of the fact that we tried to provide the best possible situation we could.” He also plans to recognize those individuals responsible for the successful event at an upcoming meeting. Wamsley added, “And the families of the graduates, too, their cooperation was huge.” “I couldn’t be more proud of the community as a whole for taking this on,” Lambert concluded.
The calendar of events was briefly reviewed, the next regular board meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 15 at 4:30 p.m. A new board member orientation is also scheduled for June 15 through 17, located in Morgantown. Hebb asked Lambert at an upcoming meeting if she could brief the board on the San Diego meeting she attended, which she confirmed she would.