Pocahontas Board of Education Honors Retiring Teacher Mike Burns

Marlinton, WV – The Pocahontas County Board of Education honored retiring teacher Mike Burns at their meeting Monday night. Burns, who has taught in Pocahontas schools for three decades, says the decision wasn’t an easy one. He will continue teaching, but as a mentor to less experienced teachers rather than students.

He arrived at the high school in December of 1979, working in the vocational department. Over the years he’s left his mark on many a student in the forestry classes. He thanked current and past board members for their guidance through the years.

“I do appreciate all the board, and the board ever since I started here backed me” says Burns. “Everybody in this county, they helped me get this thing worked through, and I feel confident handing my keys’ over to Scott Garber.”

Scott Garber will take over as the Forestry instructor this fall. Board President Kenny Vance says he remembers when Burns started at the high school.

“Mr. Burns, when he first started, I’d go down to his class, and I’d have to look around and find him because he dressed pretty much like the other students and a lot of the students were much bigger than he was” says Vance.

Burns says he was reminded by a former student of an incident in which his smaller stature got him in trouble with former school librarian Peggy Smith. When quizzed by Smith why he was in the library without a pass, he told her he was a teacher. She didn’t believe him and promptly kicked him out.

Burns is also retiring as the long time coach of the boys and girls soccer teams at the high school. The soccer program has become very successful over the years, and Burns was named West Virginia Boys and Girls Soccer Coach of the Year in 2008.

In other business, the Board approved the following on the personnel agenda:

Employment of Ricky I Sharp II as Principal at Hillsboro Elementary School

The resignation of Diana E Smith, early childhood teacher and the transfer of Shannon Anderson to a teacher of multi subjects, both at Marlinton Elementary school

Employment of Lesli Mensing as a math teacher and Jenny Friel as a cheerleading coach at Marlinton Middle school

Transfer of custodian Sherri Howe from the high school to Marlinton Middle

Employment of Allen R Taylor as a bus driver in the Frost area

Employment of the following teachers for the summer school program from June 28 through July 30 as needed –

Jessica McLaughlin for special education

Lois McCutcheon and Samantha McClure as third grade support at Hillsboro and Green Bank Elementary schools

Samantha McClure and Cynthia Shreve as credit recovery teachers for Green Bank and Marlinton Middle schools

Michael DiPasquale and Theresa Rhea as credit recovery teachers at the high school.

Story By

Heather Niday

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