Outstanding students take center stage at board meeting
On the tails of the swearing-in of new Superintendent of Schools David Banks, the Morgan County school board spent most of last Tuesday's meeting celebrating student achievements of the 2006-2007 school year.
Administrator Terry Riley honored two students who had pulled down state honors in the State Social Studies Fair – Paw Paw Elementary student Michael Pracht and Warm Springs Middle student Chelsea Hessler.
Golden Horseshoe Award winners were recognized by Laura Hovermale, who gave a brief history of the honor for eighth graders that excel in the study of West Virginia. This year's recipients were Jenna Hansroth, Michael McCarty and Jennifer Burdock.
Banks honored noteworthy student athletes Rachel Buser, Meghan Mock and Cody Reed for their state championships in track and field and wrestling. Banks said what set the exceptional athletes apart from the others was their year-round dedication to their sport. He expanded his praise to the adults in these athletes' lives.
"Parents and coaches are as much a part of the team as anyone," Banks said.
Berkeley Springs High School Athletic Director Chad Brinegar gave his yearly update about all of the school's sports programs. He noted that the Charleston Gazette had ranked the high school fourth of 41 AA schools in their Excellence in Sports report.
Brinegar gave a rundown of the school's team records for the year: Softball 16-4; Baseball 16-4; Boy's Basketball 12-12; Girls's Basketball 11-11; Wrestling 10-6.
The baseball team won the sectional championship and went to the regional playoff; the tennis team had two team members qualify for state competition; the boy's basketball team won the sectional championship; the girl's basketball team won a Sportsmanship Award from area officials; the track and field teams brought home numerous state awards and new records, and the wrestling team finished ninth in the state tournament.
At the invitation of Superintendent David Temple, Vicki Jenkins of James Rumsey Technical Institute shared a video about the tech school and the programs it offers to Eastern Panhandle high school students and residents.
Jenkins noted that more than 70 students from Berkeley Springs High School attend James Rumsey, which offers work-based classes tuition free to students of Morgan, Berkeley and Jefferson Counties. Students can get specific job training in the construction trades, hospitality jobs, graphic design, childcare, medical technology, auto mechanics and several other areas.
The board of education makes an annual contribution to James Rumsey to offset the cost of instruction of Morgan County students. The school board has budgeted $106,000 for James Rumsey for the 2007-2008 school year.
The school board accepted the following staff changes: the resignation of Paw Paw teacher Brande Seese, the hiring of Berkeley Springs High School Counselor Kristine Jackson.
Other resignations included Bine Blick's withdrawal as junior high basketball coach at Paw Paw High School and the loss of Leslie Morris as Warm Springs Middle School's cross country coach.
Jodi Bittinger, special education teacher, will transfer from Warm Springs Middle School to Berkeley Springs High School. Jill Mellot will switch from Title I teacher to Kindergarten teacher at Widmyer Elementary.
As of July 1, the school superintendent's office will have two new faces. Freshman Superintendent David Banks takes the helm of county schools at the beginning of the month. His office will be run by Executive Secretary Racheal Sarti, who will fill the position after the retirement of Beth Duvall. Duvall leaves the school system after 35 years of service.
School board members unanimously approved the lone bid for a two-year air conditioning service and maintenance contract. The contract was awarded to Southern Air, Inc. for the rate of $17,900 each year.