New Highland School Superintendent And High School Principal Introduced At School Board Meeting

Monterey, VA – The Highland County School System has a new Superintendent and a new High School Principal. Both were introduced at the School Board meeting Monday evening. The new superintendent is Dr. William Crawford and the High School Principal is April Goff.

Both will assume their duties July first. Dr. Crawford was recently Superintendent in the Culpeper Virginia area and Mrs. Goff is coming from a position as Principal at the Galileo Magnet High School in Danville, Virginia. She is also a former Assistant Principal at Bath County High School.

In his remarks, current Highland HS Principal, Kelly Wilmore, thanked the Board and the teachers for their hard work and cooperation that has made his time in Highland County such a wonderful experience.

In other business, the Highland County Education Association representative, teacher Ginny Neil expressed the group’s gratitude for recent Board actions.

“I wanted to start out by again thanking you for your hard work on our behalf as you restored two of our steps back to our salary scale, and also for working with the insurance company to keep our costs down” says Neil. “We met with the insurance representative today and he shared with us some of the measures that you’ve taken to try to keep the costs down, and we’re appreciative that this is still a benefit.”

She goes on to comment on the changes in policy affecting retirees’ health insurance.

“This is the policy which allows employees to continue on the insurance plan until they’re eligible for medicare as long as they pay the premiums” she says. “And the vote was taken last month to eliminate that from the policy. One of the things we’d like you to think about is that in this remote area, it’s often difficult to attract applicants; we are one of the lowest paid school systems in the state of Virginia and it’s a remote area that it’s often hard to convince people to come. So every fringe benefit that we offer is a plus for getting new applicants to come in.”

School Board chairman Kirk Billingsley responds to Mrs. Neil’s concerns.

“They were surprised that we allow retirees” he says. “Usually that is just not allowed to keep retirees. And the reason is retirees typically have higher medical costs, and obviously that shoots up the costs for all working employees.”

Superintendent Nowlin added his request to the discussion.

“Mr. Billingsley, part of the problem is mine, my fault, because I misinterpreted what the minutes came out with last time” says Nowlin. “And I interpreted it as the current employees were grandfathered. But subsequently I don’t think the teachers have had time enough to gather their thoughts or to make a plea, so to speak. My recommendation would b, if you can. to put it off until the end of month so they can make a plea to be considered.”

Board member Jim Blagg pointed out that continued increases in health insurance costs for teachers and staff could lead eventually to employees being required to pay for their own health insurance. Board member John Moyers added that the Rockingham County school system is having to make adjustments to its health insurance benefit package this year too.

Following the discussion, a motion was approved to defer the final vote on this issue to their next meeting.

The next meeting of the Highland County School Board will be their fiscal year close out meeting on Monday, June 27.

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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