Is Everything “A OK” in the Pocahontas County Schools?

A student’s legal guardian as well as Brad Dunz, a sports coach and friend of his student’s family came to the May 11th Pocahontas County Board of Education meeting, upset about a recent discipline incident involving the student. Dunz addressed the board members, beginning by displaying a hand signal that has traditionally meant “OK,” and asking the how they were doing. Most board members responded saying “OK.” Some board members even responded by returning the “OK” gesture.  Dunz then described the incident at the school, saying the student exited a restroom in his school, and another student asked him if the bathroom was now available for use. The student responded with an “OK” gesture, however, a passing school employee immediately took the student to the office where he was accused of displaying a “White Power” hand signal.

According to Dunz, the student repeatedly denied to the Principal that his gesture was anything other than a “OK” response meaning the restroom was now available for use by the other student. After being repeatedly told by the Principal that he was lying, the boy finally confessed that was the case. The boy later told his family, he made the admission only after he realized that the principal was not going to believe he was only signaling “OK.”

After the meeting, School Superintendent Terrence Beam assured us that the incident has been appropriately addressed with those involved.

This board meeting was held at Hillsboro Elementary School and began with a Local School Improvement Council meeting during which Principal Rebecca Spencer announced the names of the school’s Super Scholars, a list of whom can be found with this story on our website.

Spencer also announced that Abigail Taylor won first place in the Science Fair, while Luke Taylor took second place and Sherry Walker third place. Spencer also said Abigail Taylor won the Social Studies Fair and that Aliza Cedarleaf won the First and Second Grade Young Writer’s Contest.

Spencer said that the school has met or at least shown great improvements in their goals regarding behavior, Phonics and Math. The school also has developed Pacing Guides for all courses.

Other significant items at this meeting included:

  • Beam reported that the State Department of Education did not reach a mediated settlement for the lawsuit Pocahontas and other county school systems had filed seeking the School Aid Funds that they feel were not paid them in years past. The case is expected to go to trial this summer.
  • Beam also said he authorized Mr. Hall to use overtime if necessary, to fix a major leak at Marlinton Middle School.
  • Ruth Bland gave an update regarding the development of the Multi-Cultural curriculum for next school Year. She said the curriculum committee has met and set timelines. They will meet again at the end of May.
  • The board voted to change the authorized summer sports practice dates to July 5th through July 23rd.
  • They adopted new English/Language Arts instructional materials for the next seven years. They approved several options to give individual schools flexibility in choosing which to use.
  • They authorized the purchase of a fork Lift for use in CTE Programs.
  • The Board approved Superintendent Beam’s annual evaluation and his goals for next year. You can see those goals on our website.
  • They made two changes to the School Re-Entry plan. One is no longer requiring students to wear masks when outdoors and the other disallows out of county recreational field trips this spring.
  • They approved a personnel agenda which can also be found at the end of this story on our website,


Hillsboro Super Scholars

3rd Grade:

  • Kya Arbogast
  • Autumn Hively
  • Abigail Taylor

4th Grade:

  • Ezra Bond
  • Julia Brown
  • Hailey Goldsberry
  • Eli Beezley
  • Jolene Workman

5th Grade:

  • Luke Taylor
  • Willa Hardy

Superintendent’s 2021-2022 Goals

  1. Provide oversight for the Pocahontas Schools website.
  2. Develop leadership skills with our principals to make them more effective leaders with the ability to handle school-related issues with limited involvement from the superintendent.
  3. Consistently keep board members informed of the issues and successes in the daily school operations.
  4. Improve direct communication with faculty and staff,
  5. Be more assertive when the circumstances require.

To see the personnel actions taken during this meeting clock here 5-11-21 Personnel Actions DOC

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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