Braxton Citizens' News, Schools

Board of Ed hires new Superintendent

The Braxton County Board of Education conducted two meeting on Tuesday, May 24.

The first meeting was a special meeting for discussion on the appointment of a new superintendent. The meeting was called to order at 3:00 pm and went immediately into executive session on a motion by Evelyn Post with a second by Dr. Martha Dean. Board members reconvened into regular session at 5:40 pm.

On a motion by Dr. Martha Dean and a second by Dolores Wright, board members unanimously approved the hiring of Dr. Rhonda Combs to serve as the new superintendent of Braxton County School. The one-year contract will begin “July 1, 2022 at a salary of $115,000 per year, subject to contract and benefits as authorized by the county board president and presented to the board at a later date.”

Dr. Combs comes to Braxton County from the Brooke County School District where she has serviced as district administrator for the past 19 years. In addition to the numerous administrative positions Combs has held she also served as a principal for seven years at the elementary and middle school levels.

She obtained here Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and two master’s degrees in Education and Educational Leadership from The Ohio State University and West Virginia University. In a letter accompanying her application for superintendent, Dr. Combs outlined her vision for the job, “In the wake of two years of instructional disruptions, I would focus on providing the leadership and stewardship necessary to address learning loss, transitions, mental health, compensatory services and ensure that an effective, comprehensive personalized learning environment is provided. I believe that this is an opportunity for school systems to emerge stronger and more responsive to all learning needs. As educators, we can work together to harness the opportunities presented by this crisis to truly transform and move educations forward…”

The second meeting was called to order at 6:00 pm. The meeting started with the public budget hearing. Director of Finance Ginger Altizer reviewed the budget with board members. She explained salary changes based on new legislation and the costs increases affecting the budget. Evelyn Post requested a special meeting in order to have time to review the budget information before approval. The special meeting will be on May 31 at 9:00.

Beverly Kingery, Education Consultant, provided board members with an end of the year review. She discussed her work with central office staff, principals, and teachers throughout the school year. She worked on leadership management, instructional roles, and human relations in the schools as well as literacy program at the elementary level. At the middle school and high school, Kingery focused on the school culture. The board tabled the renewal of her contract in order to review the information she provided. Action will be taken at the May 31 special meeting.

Superintendent Kathy Hypes updated the board on Portrait of a Graduate. She stated a draft had been completed based on the information obtained through the various meetings. She noted that the students’ input was the most beneficial part of the information gathering process.

Superintendent Hypes then briefly reviewed the teacher leadership framework for the upcoming school year. She noted the plan was to continue with program and add the next phase during the new school year including working with noncertified teachers and the “Grow Your Own” program. Improving student achievement is the main goal of the program. Evelyn Post asked about financial incentives for teachers. Hypes noted that was part of the budget.

She also provided board members with a PowerPoint presentation from Bowles Rice on WV legislative updates.

Superintendent Hypes ended her updates with recognizing Frametown Elementary fitness team winning the state competition and the three eight grade students who won the Golden Horseshoe this year.

Next to speak to the board was Christina Bailey, Head Start Director. She provided the board with the annual report and the transportation waiver request for 2022-23 school year as well as the COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) and Quality Improvement Grants and calendar for Head Start. On a motion by Dr. Kenna Seal and a second by Evelyn Post, the board approved the transportation waiver, the grants, and the Head Start calendar.

The board approved the following consent agenda items on a motion by Evelyn Post: approval of May 3 regular meeting, May 11 special meeting and May 16 special meeting minutes; transportation requests; payment of bills; budget transfers and supplements; and treasurer’s report.

The following professional, service and extra-curricular recommendations were approved by the board on a motion by Dr. Martha Dean: employment of Ivy Hodges, summer music teacher, Megan Facemire, Melissa Kitzmiller, and Betty Singleton, KinderBoost summer teachers, Grace Wine, part-time summer school coordinator, summer cooks- Lisa Allen, Burnsville, Beverly Rollins, Davis, Garalea Fulks, Flatwoods, Tamara Miller, Frametown, Angela Snyder, Little Birch, Nicole Jarrell, Sutton, and Shirley Teter, BCMS, summer bus operators-Simon Arnold, Bonnie Gendreau, Scott Mosley, Billy Rose, Mark Rose, Lawrence Shaver, Darla Shaver, Shirley Skidmore, Mark Smyth, Marcy Westfall, Paul Burton, Robert Mitchell, and Christina Cogar, summer custodians-Michall Sears and Zackary Roberts, summer substitute cooks-Sherry Moats, Lisa Chenoweth, and Madeline Wankmuller, summer substitute bus operators-Matthew Pitcock, Iris Fowler, and Charles Smith, summer substitute custodians-Iris Fowler, extra-curricular assignment, lawn care-Zackery Roberts and Christina Cogar, KinderBoost/instructional/transportation summer aide-Michele Johnson, Michelle Jackson, and Rebecca Oates, special education supervisory/instructional/transportation summer aide-Lisa Legg and Sherry Moats, summer student receptionist-Mackenzie Heater, Burnsville, Emma Hardway and Kathryn Harper-Flinn, Davis, Paxton Conley and Kendall Bender, Flatwoods, Haley Morris, Frametown, Jeffrey Evans and SkyLynn Abraham, Little Birch, Skyler Davis, Sutton, Erica Nicholson, BCMS, and Hayden Lemon, BCHS, Donna Morris, substitute, effective beginning of 2022-23 school year and Zackary Roberts, substitute custodian, effective beginning of 2022-23 school year; and resignations of Nancy Long, English teacher, BCHS, Charles Murphy, science teacher, BCHS, and Michelle Shaver, assistant soccer coach, BCMS.

The board approved fundraisers on a motion by Dolores Wright.

Board members also approved the annual HVAC and Fire Preventative Maintenance agreement with EMCOR Services, payment of field trips as necessary for summer programming, Title I Parent Involvement Policy, science textbook adoption and purchase and the out of state field trip request for BCMS Student Council to Kennywood on May 26 on separate motions.

The board went into executive session at 7:47 pm to discuss the cell tower lease with attorney Jason Cottle from Bowles Rice. They reconvened at 8:23 pm with no actions taken.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:23 pm. The next regular meeting is June 7 at 6:00 pm. As always, members of the Braxton County community are encouraged to attend regular board meetings.