Pocahontas Teacher Christine Campbell Asks Pocahontas County Board of Education For A Leave Of Absence

Marlinton, WV – Marlinton Middle School teacher Christine Campbell asked for a leave of absence at the Board of Education meeting Monday night.

“I am requesting professional release from my duties at Marlinton Middle School from March 11th through the 2011 School year without jeopardizing my continuing contract” says Campbell.

Campbell says that she has been asked by the American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia to work on the AFT’s Spring Drive. Specifically, she says they want more information on Innovation Zones, Respect and Protect Programs, and other Discipline Programs though out the State. She says she would visit schools with these programs and do research and field observations on them. She says that Pocahontas County Schools would then benefit from her experience.

“I feel like this is an opportunity for Pocahontas County School to get a free person out in the state checking on these things” she says.

Campbell says that her association with AFT has already paid dividends to the County. She cites the Safe and Secure Rural Schools Act, a provision that provides funding for the school system from Forestry money.

“Recently the Rural Schools Act has come about and there were some problems with West Virginia having a voice and how important it was for us to be able to keep that forestry money” says Campbell. “Because what it all comes down to is that revenue from that is a big part of our budget. It provides money for 10 teachers.”

As the AFT is more concerned with urban matters and the Kanawha Valley, she urged them to weigh in on the side of the legislation. AFT then sent a letter of support to our representatives in Congress. She says she may seek a leadership role in AFT. In such a position, she says she could do even more for the Schools.

Campbell says that AFT would pay her salary as well as that of the substitute teacher that would work in her place. The only cost to the Board will be her benefit package. Board President Kenneth Vance objected, saying AFT has nothing to do with the school system.

“I have a problem with it myself” says Vance “AFT is a union. And to me it’s the same as one of the other teachers wanting to take off time to go to Snowshoe or the Observatory if they have an opportunity to get a job up there making $300 a day and you paying the substitute which is $125.00. If you’ve been here for awhile you’re making $200 as a teacher, you’re paying out $125.00 and taking another job somewhere else. You’re making money, so what’s fair about it?”

Board member Emory Grimes agreed with Vance. He questions what happens to her position next year if Campbell gets a senior leadership position with AFT. He says she shouldn’t assume that her job will still be there.

“If one of my employees wanted to go somewhere , they have my blessing” he says, “but they know that I not going to hold that job for them whenever they come back.”

In the end, with the recommendation of Superintendant CC Lester and staunch support of Board Member Janet McNeel, the Board unanimously approved the leave of absence.

In other business the Board took the following action:

Accepted the resignation of Warren Hayes as Custodian IV/Sanitation Plant Operator at Green Bank effective March 4th

Employed Samantha McClure as softball coach at PCHS for the 2010-2011 season

Changed the status of Phillip Anderson to teacher of social studies at PCHS

Transferred Caleb Barkley from custodian II at PCHS to general Maintenance for Pocahontas County

Rescinded the employment of Jessica McLaughlin

Employed Rebekah Connor as a substitute teacher for Pocahontas County Schools

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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