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Superintendent ready for a new year

Board office to host open house

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

With a short summer vacation behind him, Pocahontas County Schools Superintendent Terrence Beam is looking forward to the new year and excited about what is to come for the students and employees.

After learning from last year’s unprecedented work stoppage and large number of snow days, Beam is confident that this year’s calendar will ensure students and employees alike will be able to enjoy breaks and vacations, and still have school end in a timely fashion.

“I’m really excited about our calendar this year because we get five days for snow packets and we get five days for accrued time, so the first ten days we have off for weather, we don’t have to make up,” Beam said. “Our last scheduled day for school is May 21. So if we have fifteen snow days, we’ll even get out by Memorial Day. I’m really happy about that. That is still protecting Thanksgiving, Christmas and Spring Break.”

Beam did address concern that there may be another work stoppage this year if the PEIA Taskforce does not come to an agreement with the West Virginia Legislature on the insurance policies provided to school employees. If there is another work stoppage, there is a possibility that some of spring break will be used as make-up days.

“I don’t want to run into what we did last year – going so late in June,” he said. “People who want to schedule their vacation during spring break do so at their own risk – not saying that they can’t, but, last year was a very different year. We want to support our employees, but we also have a responsibility to get 180 days of instruction in. You kind of have to walk a fine line and make sure you follow all the guidelines, but you don’t unnecessarily punish either the student or the employees for those days.”

Beam is staying hopeful that there will not be a work stoppage, but is prepared if it does arise.

August is a very busy month, with teachers returning to work on the 9th and students returning the 15th.

There are new additions at several schools, and Beam is happy to report that the year will begin with all employees in positions with no substitutes beginning the year.

“We’re going to have all of our teachers in place the first day,” he said. “We had a couple resignations in our county where we lost some experienced teachers, but we were able to hire certified people to replace them. We have a new social studies teacher at Marlinton Middle School, Seth Kiriluk. I think it’s going to be a really good addition to our school system. We have three new teachers at the high school. We have a new math teacher, Laura Goodwin, and two new science teachers – Shanda Carr and Derek Trull.”

The board office will also host an open house Monday, August 6, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at its new location in Buckeye.

“We’re going to serve some refreshments,” Beam said. “We’re going to be carrying on business as usual that day, but we want people to walk in at their own leisure and walk through our building, and see where the offices are and just know where we are.”

With everything in place, the school year is starting off right, and Beam is ready for the students to return.

“It’s been a busy time,” he said, “but I feel good about where we are right now.”

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