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BOE tends to business during pandemic

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

Despite the current climate in the country, business must go on for many entities, including the Pocahontas County Board of Education, which met April 7 for its regularly scheduled meeting.

Things were a bit different, though, with members placing empty seats between each other and the public asked to attend the meeting online through Zoom.

Although the schools have been closed since mid-March, the teachers continue to teach and check in on their students online. Superintendent Terrence Beam recognized the staff, students and parents for their hard work in trying to maintain a semblance of normalcy.

“I want to recognize our employees for their work during this very difficult time,” he said. “Our students – we miss them – we want to see them back as soon as we can. All the work that they’re putting into the assignments they’ve been given has been great. Also, a shout out to our parents who have been very understanding and supportive. I have not had a single, solitary complaint this whole entire time.

“I think that speaks really well of our parents,” he continued. “They understand the situation, and they’ve been very understanding and supportive.”

The teachers will continue to provide online classes and/or homework assignments to students, and the board will continue to provide meals each Monday to be picked up at Hillsboro Elementary School, Marlinton Elementary School and Green Bank Elementary-Middle School.

Beam also announced the county’s Teacher of the Year – Emily McLaughlin, who teaches Option Pathway at Pocahontas County High School; and the Service Personnel of the Year – Doris Sharp, who is the cook at Hillsboro Elementary School.
He added that Jennifer Nail-Cook was named the West Virginia Secondary Math Teacher of the Year.

During the Matters from the Board portion of the agenda, each board member shared their gratitude to the teachers and community for working together for the sake of the students during this difficult time.

In miscellaneous management, the board approved the following:

• GrowAppalachia to utilize a strip of land – approximately 60’ x 120’ – on the Board of Education property in Green Bank for a community garden site.

• Consulting Agreement between Learn Design Apply, Inc. and Pocahontas County Board of Education for $2,000, to complete a federal grant application for intercom/communication systems for all five schools and the central office with the county’s 911 capabilities.

In personnel management, the board approved the following:

• Change in classification of the following from Cook II to Cook III – pursuant to the requirements set forth in West Virginia Code 18A-4-8(I), effective the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year: Shannon B. Bircher, Martha J. Friel, Sarah J. Hedrick, Sherri L. Howe, Sabrina J. Jordan and Valerie H. Lambert.

• Employment of Dana Cutlip as itinerant school social worker at Hillsboro Elementary School, at state basic salary, effective for the 2020-2021 school year. Term of employment is 200 days.

• Resignation of Cindy J. Wade-Price as itinerant special education classroom aide/bus aide at Marlinton Elementary School, retroactive to March 6.

• Abolishment of position itinerant special education classroom aide/bus aide at Marlinton Elementary School, effective at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

The next board meeting will be Tuesday, April 21, at 8 a.m. in the board of education conference room. The meeting will be open to viewers on Zoom. A link, Meeting ID and Password will be shared online at:

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