The New Principals of Pocahontas County Schools –Part 2

We conclude our interviews of the 4 new Pocahontas County School Principals by interviewing Veteran Principal – but new to PCHS- Joe Riley and Dustin Lambert, the new Principal at Marlinton Middle School. We asked each Principal about their backgrounds, their leadership philosophies and their primary focuses or challenges at their new schools.

Joe Riley starts us off.

“I grew up here in Pocahontas County” said Riley. “I graduated from Pocahontas County High School in 1985, went to Potomac State College for 2 years then on to West Virginia University for 2 years and got a degree in teaching Agriculture Education. Then I ended up teaching 7 years at East Hardy high School. Then came back and taught at Pocahontas County High School for 12 years. I was able to within that time get my Masters in Agricultural, so then I was able to get my certification in Principalship from Marshall University and then became Vice Principal of Pocahontas County High School for a year, then went to being Principal of Marlinton Middle School for 9 years and now I am back at Pocahontas County High School –and excited about it.”

What about Mr. Riley’s educational philosophy?

“I think the main thing we need to consider is the school system is every kid’s shot at a great life and doing whatever they want to do” Riley says. “So as an educational system, we need to provide that student with as much as we possibly can to be successful. I feel that is the school’s job to make sure the kids have what they need so they can be anything they wish to be.”

And what is his primary focus this year?

“I think one of the main things that I want to get across to the students is that they are in charge of their education” Riley said.“ They need to be able to determine what it is they need . They need to be able to advocate for whatever it is they need. And have a vision of where they want to be once they’re out and what does that take? What classes do they have to have, what grades do they have to have, and just have a plan for the future. And, once again, just be in charge of their education. That’s what I would like to accomplish this year.”

Finally, we talked with the young and very dynamic new Principal at Marlinton Middle School, Dustin Lambert.

“I grew up in Durbin” said Dustin. “I went to Concord University for my undergraduate and immediately after that was employed with the Lincoln county School System as a Social Studies Teacher. For the past 4 years I’ve been teaching A P (Advanced Placement) Government and Politics and Honors American History to tenth and 12th graders. I’ve loved every minute of it. Almost 2 years ago I started my Masters Degree and went straight through it from Salem International University and in January, 2016 I graduated with my Master’s Degree. And this position came open at Marlinton Middle school. I applied and here I am.”

Just what is Dustin’s education philosophy?

“I believe each child is unique in their characteristics and their abilities and their needs” Dustin said. “I believe we have to meet those children where they are. We can’t expect them to come to us, we have to go to them. And so I think it is very important that Teachers serve as a facilitator of learning. I believe that children need an opportunity to self-express themselves and to facilitate some of their own learning within the classroom. I definitely see that we need to be moving in a direction of collaboration among teachers and not just teachers, but parents. I think parents are great avenues to understand children.”

What does Dustin see as his greatest challenge this year in his new position?

“Already into our school system, I see that our discipline matrix is a huge issue” Dustin says. “It’s a huge concern of mine. I don’t think that children fully understand the consequences of their actions. I don’t think they are being guided in that direction appropriately – and I am not saying it is the responsibility of the school system to enact morals or standards or values, but it is something that we as a school system need to take seriously because children are not coming to the schoolhouse understanding how society works and what is appropriate to society.”

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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