Three Candidates Interview For Pocahontas Superintendents Job

Marlinton, WV – Concerned parents and others gathered at Pocahontas County High School last Thursday night to hear from the candidates seeking the position of Superintendent of Pocahontas County Schools.

Five candidates were originally schedule to address the public. However Dr. Howard O’Cull, Executive Director of the West Virginia School Board Association, says two of the candidates had withdrawn their applications prior to the public forum. That left CC Lester, former Principal of Marlinton Middle School, Ruth Bland, current Principal of Green Bank Elementary Middle School and Tab Mathis, former Principal of Tolsia HS in Wayne County. Each candidate was given 30 minutes to offer an opening statement, answer questions presented by Dr. O’Cull, and then give a closing statement.

The first question concerns what each candidate considers the most critical issues facing public education in Pocahontas County. CC Lester says there are multiple issues, but focused on public involvement, saying he wants parents more involved in decisions that affect their children. Ruth Bland identified tough economic times as the critical issue, while Mathis says school safety is his primary concern.

The second question concerns the candidates willingness to work with teachers and service personnel in the schools. All three candidates say they’re very open to working with both groups towards the best education experience for students.

The candidates were then asked to prioritize how increased property tax revenues should be spent given the following categories – service personnel, instructional materials, administrative staffing, professional development and student teacher ratios. Both Bland and Lester identify student/teacher ratios as the most important priority, followed closely by service personnel. Mathis also chooses student/teacher rations, but puts professional development at the same priority level.

All three candidates say they are open to the Superintendents position being evaluated by all employees as part of a comprehensive evaluation system.

Finally, each candidate was asked to put into one sentence why they want the job. CC Lester, reflecting on his two years as Principal of Marlinton Middle School says he’s had “the most wonderful experience of his life in this [Pocahontas]County”. Ruth Bland wants the opportunity to recognize the efforts of what she calls an excellent workforce in the schools. She says she feels they haven’t always received the recognition they deserve.

Tab Mathis says he wants the job because he feels he can bring innovative ideas to the County.

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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