SPENCER - Student achievement and success are the goals of the new superintendent of Roane County Schools.
Superintendent Jerry Garner began Feb. 5 and succeeded Mickey Blackwell, who stepped down in November to become the executive director of the Office of School Improvement with the West Virginia Board of Education. Former Wirt County Superintendent Daniel Metz served in the interim.
"I would like to thank the Roane County Board of Education members for giving me the opportunity to serve as superintendent," Garner said.
Garner grew up in St. Albans where he graduated from St. Albans High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from West Virginia Institute of Technology. He then attended West Virginia State College and earned a bachelor's degree in education so he could teach mathematics and chemistry.
His first job was teaching math and chemistry at Walton High School for six years. When that school closed, he spent the next five years teaching math at Walton Elementary/Middle School.
He was then named assistant principal at Walton and served almost three years and later as principal for a little more than eight years. He then moved to the county office to become director of transportation, facilities and safety in the 2009-10 school year. He held that position until he was hired as the superintendent.
"I saw an opportunity as superintendent of Roane County to improve morale among professionals and service personnel and in the classroom," Garner said. "My No. 1 priority for Roane County Schools will be having all six schools identified as Success Schools within five years.
"Currently, there is a disconnect between teachers and the new curriculum be implemented with respect to Common Core Standards," he said. "We need to provide Roane County School teachers with curriculum maps to align the curriculum vertically between grade levels and then establish pacing guides to consistently apply the curriculum at each grade level."
Once curriculum pacing guides have been established, teachers will need to verify students learning at a higher level depth of knowledge, Garner said. If students are unsuccessful, then immediate reteaching of Core Standards should be done in the regular classroom settings, he added.
"If a variety of instructional strategies are failing a student, then the school should develop a support plan for personalized learning," Garner said. "The support plan for personalized learning should incorporate the regular teacher, Title I teacher, special education teacher and parents. Once we engage our students in successful learning opportunities, then our mission of assisting each child in reaching his or her maximum potential - academically, emotionally, physically and socially will finally occur."
Roane County has six schools with a student enrollment of 2,443. The schools include Geary Elementary/Middle School (325), Reedy Elementary (95), Spencer Middle School (392), Spencer Elementary School (550), Walton Elementary/Middle School (358) and Roane County High School (723).