Steve Tritapoe appointed to fill southern district seat on Pocahontas BOE

The first order of business for the Pocahontas County Board of Education at their regular meeting Monday night was to appoint a new board member to fill the unexpired term of Jan McNeel, who recently stepped down.  Board members Emery Grimes, Cheryl Beverage, Suzanne Stewart and Jessica Hevener voted unanimously to appoint Steve Tritapoe to the position.  Tritapoe had previously been appointed to the board to replace Kenneth Vance, but had to step down when it was found that he didn’t reside in the district he was to represent.  He will hold the position until a special election is held to fill the position.   The filing deadline for candidates seeking this position is August 19th at 4:30pm.

Dr. Bechtel, school superintendent, recognized two new staff members coming to the high school this year.

“It gives me great pleasure to introduce Mr. Erwin Berry,” he said. “He’s our agricultural teacher and Mr. Barry, I don’t want to make you blush, but he has a real impressive resume.   He sought us out, he wants to come here; this’ll be his 32nd year of teaching.  And he was the agriculture teacher of the year in 1996 in the state of West Virginia.”

Dr. Bechtel also had high praise for the gentlemen he designated as his choice to fill a key position at the high school.

“Our second individual I’m recommending to the board to assume the assistant principalship at Pocahontas county high school, his name is Michael Adkins,” said Dr. Bechtel.  “He drove 20 hours last week from Texas to interview.   This will be his first administrative position.  He’s quite a thinker and we’re excited about what he will bring to us.”

Adkins teaching experience includes 2 stints overseas in Japan, providing instruction in both art and English.

Jennifer Beverage, the parent of a 5th grade student at Green Bank Elementary Middle school said she and other parents had met with Principal Ricky Sharp to talk about the class schedule for the 2014-15 school year.

“Us, as the 5th grade parents met with Mr. Sharp at the end of last week regarding the schedule and we are happy with the schedule he’s come up with that best serves the students and the teachers with the limited resources we have,” said Beverage.

Parents and teachers had recently complained about classes being too large and teachers stretched too thin to be able to provide optimum instructional time to students.  Dr. Bechtel said he had also spoken with Sharp.

“And I feel like we’ve really taken a look at the instructional needs of the kids [in] 5 through 8 [grade] and have come away with a schedule,” he said.  “There’s a new policy 2510 that gives us some flexibility from time limits in some regards.”

Director of Maintenance Ron Hall gave the board an extensive report on repairs made to the schools to get them ready for the resumption of classes.   He says there are still repairs to be made, but said he’s happy with the work they’ve been able to get done this year.  He told the board he is looking into putting a synthetic material on the roof of some schools in order to forestall having to replace the roofs entirely, a much more costly proposition.

Hall says the field house adjacent to the high school football field continues to present challenges.

“I’m not happy about how the field house has been taken care of, I’ve expressed that to coaches, I’ve expressed it to the new principal,” said Hall. “It’s a lot of work to replace all that, a lot of money and I expect it to be a little better, I think you all would agree with that.  They’ve abused that field house really bad, so we’re going to try to fix it back up.”

He said the bathrooms in the field house are now in good working order and a new water fountain has been installed.  Hall’s stated intention to shut the field house down and drain the water lines after football season drew some concern from board member Steve Tritapoe.  In the past, athletes have been able to use the weights in the field house to stay in shape in the off season.  With it closed down, the students would have to use the exercise facilities in Marlinton and Green Bank.  Tritapoe said it would be detrimental to team spirit if the athletes are in separate facilities in the off season.  Hall was sympathetic, but said in its current condition, it’s simply not cost effective to keep the building open in the winter time.

The following financials were approved by the board:

Revenue & Expenditure Summary and bank reconciliation for June 2014

  • Vendor payment of $19,462.68
  • Vendor payment of $27,758.64
  • Vendor payment of $ 7,775.18

The board also approved the following:

To allow Melissa Ferrell, a resident of Greenbrier county, to enroll her child in Pocahontas county schools for the 2014-15 school year

To accept a bid from Woodford Oil for diesel, gasoline, and #2 heating oil, effective Aug 15th, 2014 through Aug 14th, 2015

A contract with McCoy Counseling Services to provide staff training at Green Bank Elementary-Middle school

A contract with Rita Forney to provide speech/language pathology and other evaluation services for county students for the 2014-15 school year

Contracts with Melanie Mason and Kimberly Robin Groves to provide physical therapy services for county students for the 2014-15 school year

A contract with David B. Wamsley to provide psycho educational assessment services for the county school system during the 2014-15 school year

A contract with Christine A. Smith to provide gifted services and other evaluation services to county students for the 2014-15 school year

A contract with Nancy Martin to provide technology support assistant services to county schools for the 2014-15 school year

A Memorandum of Understanding between the Board of Education and North Central West Virginia Community Action Association, Inc for the Head Start program in the county, retroactive to July 1st, 2014 through June 30th, 2015

Personnel Agenda approved by the board:

Green Bank Elementary-Middle School

  • Employment of Lucy M. Rittenhouse and Shannon B. Bircher as Academic Interventionists
  • Employment of Abram J. Rittenhouse as teacher of health/physical education/social studies
  • Employment of Alison Flegel as teacher of art (half-time)
  • Requested transfer of Valerie H. Lambert from Cook II (half-time) to Cook II
  • Abolishment of positions of Cook II (half-time) and Secretary II/Accountant II (half-time)
  • Creation of positions Cook II/SecretaryII/Accountant II  and Classroom Aide/Bus Aide

Hillsboro Elementary School

  • Employment of Linda H. Vanreenan as Academic Interventionist
  • Requested transfer of Sarah E. Hamilton from Secretary II/Accountant II (half-time) at Green Bank Elementary to Secretary II/Accountant II at Hillsboro Elementary

Marlinton Elementary School

  • Employment of Teresa W. Barb and Lyanne B. Zelinsky as Academic Interventionists
  • Creation of teacher of multi-subjects position

Marlinton Middle School

  • Employment of Jean O. Srodes as Academic Interventionist

Pocahontas County High School

  • Employment of Michael Adkins as Assistant Principal

Pocahontas County Schools

  • Employment of  M. Susan Arbogast and Lucy M. Rittenhouse as Parent Involvement Coordinators for county schools
  • Resignation of Kenneth Varner as school bus operator, retroactive to Aug 5th, 2014
  • Employment of Edward R. Hill and Linda Wilfong as substitute teachers, as needed
  • Temporary extension of term of employment for Gary Beverage as Technology Systems Specialist
  • Creation of Itinerant special education classroom aide/bus aide for county schools (assignment is Marlinton Elementary).

The next meeting of the Pocahontas County Board of Education is Monday, August 25th at 7pm in the board conference room.

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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