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Wood BOE appoints new principal for Blennherhassett Elementary

Jason Potts, director of curriculum and instruction for Wood County Schools, presented information regarding the STEAM Academy for grades seven and eight for the 2022-2023 school year to the Wood County Board of Education on Tuesday. Jimmy Stewart, technology integration specialist, also shared the STEAM Academy promotional video for the board to see. (Photo by Douglass Huxley)

PARKERSBURG — The Wood County Board of Education held a special meeting Tuesday night at the Wood County Schools Central Office at 1210 13th St. in Parkersburg .

The board heard presentations from June Rhodes, Parkersburg and Wood County Public Library board member, on the present library updates, Whitni Kines, Director of Finance, gave an overview of the West Virginia Department of Education financial analysis of Wood County Schools, and Jason Potts, director of curriculum and instruction, presented information regarding the STEAM Academy for 2022-2023. Jimmy Stewart, Technology Integration Specialist, also shared the STEAM Academy promotional video.

“The teachers have been working extremely hard this summer in training to be prepared for the school year,” Potts said. “Some connections that we’re trying to make not only with the schools, we’re trying to see how our classes can feed into our CTE programs.”

During board comments, board member Ron Tice spoke highly of the presentation.

“If I was in seventh or eighth grade, I would wanna be taking one of these classes,” Tice said. “The way they have it written and everything, they won’t have any trouble getting the kids into the classes.”

Board member Debbie Hendershot agreed with Tice.

“This is fantastic,” Hendershot said. “I really think it’s the best flyer we’ve seen. It explains it where the kids can understand.”

The board approved an emergency purchase order for the Parkersburg South High School fire alarm system that was damaged beyond repair during a storm; a memorandum of understanding with West Virginia University at Parkersburg for clinical students: field placement, student teachers and resident teachers that extends into 2024; and appointed Kristin Garretson as the new principal of Blennherhassett Elementary.

“We’re very happy to have you in administration with Wood County Schools,” board member Judy Johnson said to Garretson. “I’m sure you’ll come in as a great instructional leader, and we appreciate that.”

The board also unanimously approved policy updates for employee uniforms, which give a $200 reimbursement voucher for maintenance personnel, mechanics, and transportation operators to purchase safety footwear, tuition reimbursement for regularly contracted professional and service personnel in the amount of $1,400, and a signing bonus for prospective special education teachers set at $3,000 over a three-year period.

“I want to say too, because we did have some comments asking about ‘why didn’t we offer this to other teachers.'” Johnson said. “There were stipulations that state code only allows us to make it to teachers that are graduating from colleges from that program currently.”

The next meeting of the Board of Education will Aug. 9 at 6 p.m. at the Wood County Schools Central Office at 1210 13th St. in Parkersburg. The meeting is open to the public.

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