Highland School Board Begins Search For New School Superintendant

Monterey, VA – As the end of another school year approaches, the Highland County School Board members will have extra duties to complete as they conduct a search for a new part-time school superintendent. School Board Chairman Kirk Billingsley discusses aspects of the search.

“The School board is in process of looking for applicants for Superintendent” he says. “We’ve got 7 applications; 4 of them are very good applications. So lucky for us we’re in a situation where there’s a lot of recent folks that have retired but they have energy and desire to do a part time job such as this; our first set of interviews went well.”

After a new superintendent is on board, one of their first priorities will be to hire a new high school principal since Mr. Wilmore is leaving at the end of this term.

In other business, the Board changed one of the benefits in the school employee retirement program.

“In the past we have offered employees who retire under provisions of the VRS [Virginia Retirement System], eligibility to continue on the school group plan as long as they pay for it and they met all the formal retirement qualifications” says Billingsley. “The problem that I see with that is most of the health care costs is in the later part of life; odds are, there’s going to be a lot more health expense for someone that’s retired than a new employee.”

It is Mr. Billingsley’s opinion that allowing retired employees to stay in the school health insurance program will drive up costs to current employees, so he made a motion to drop that provision of the employee benefit package, subject to approval from the Virginia Association of School Boards legal counsel. This would only affect those who retire after this change is adopted. The motion was approved by the board.

Technology director Gary Lane reported to the Board that the new air conditioning system has been installed and is ready for operation this summer.

Virginia’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Patricia Wright, and members of her staff will be visiting the Highland County Schools on Tuesday, May 10. After lunch at the Highland Center, Board Chairman Kirk Billingsley will be making a presentation on the recent achievements of the school and the challenges faced by the smallest school district in Virginia. School Board members and the school administration are hoping that Dr. Wright’s staff will have suggestions as to how the Highland schools can continue to provide quality education in the face of shrinking enrollments and reduced state funding.

The next regular meeting of the Highland School Board will be Monday, June 6, at 7 PM in the High School Library.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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