POINT PLEASANT — At Tuesday night’s meeting of the Mason County School Board, member Michael Cottrill announced he will not be seeking re-election.
Cottrill’s seat on the board, along with Members Thomas Nunnery and Matthew Thompson seats, will be up for re-election at the end of the school year. When commenting on his decision to not seek re-election, Cottrill stated he has served on the school board for ten years now, and sees this particular board as one of the best there have been in many years. He went on to say how he knew it was his time to leave after he and the other members recently traveled to Charleston to receive an Office of Education Performance Audit (OEPA) report. This OEPA report listed many aspects of Mason County Schools that have improved since the rough December 2010 OEPA report.
“I knew I could leave with my head held high,” Cottrill said.
Board President Dale Shobe also signed a proclamation declaring the month of February as National Careers Through Education (CTE) Month. Ruth Caplinger, County Career and Technical Education Director and State president of the WV Association of Career and Technical Education, presented this proclamation to the board. The proclamation stresses the importance of career and technical education in Mason County Schools, and encourages residents to embrace these programs and take advantage of the services and opportunities they are providing for the students of Mason County.
Also discussed at the meeting was the issue of bullying in Mason County Schools. Concerned parent Christina Whitkins addressed the board and stated the policies on bullying need to be enforced, and possibly changed. Whitkins also discussed some instances where her son was bullied and felt the need to defend himself, since there wasn’t anything else being done about it.
Superintendent Suzanne Dickens commented that bullying is an issue, and it needs to be reported to the proper authorities before anything can be done about it. Board member Cottrill also commented, acknowledging the problem, and stating how there is a “chain of command” in place when dealing with such issues. Both Cottrill and Dickens went on to comment, stating that parents need to give teachers and principals the opportunity to handle any issues before coming to the school board.
“She brought up some good points,” Dickens said. She mentioned that she took several notes on Whitkins’ concerns and the policies regarding bullying.
The board also approved the following business and personnel items:
Approved Taco Bell of Pomeroy, Ohio, Mason County Homebound Center, Village Insurance, Subway of Buffalo, and Hoffman Beef Farm, as work based learning businesses, effective immediately through September 30, 2012. Approved volunteers from Beale Elementary, Hannan Jr/Sr High, New Haven Elementary, and Roosevelt Elementary, for the remainder of the 2011-12 school year. Approved the Service Agreement between the Mason County Board of Education and Jackson County Developmental Center, Inc., for the 2011/12 school year.
Approved regular employee status for Savannah Ward, effective January 20, 2012. Accepted the resignation of Martha Reed, Work Based Learning, Mason County Career Center/Point Pleasant Jr/Sr High, effective June 6, 2012, due to retirement. Accepted the resignation of Leslie Stepp, grade six teacher, Ashton Elementary, effective January 23, 2012. Accepted the resignation of Melinda Williamson, grade three teacher, Point Pleasant Intermediate School, effective January 24, 2012. Accepted the resignation of Mary Hamm, .5 Art Teacher, Point Pleasant Jr/Sr High, effective February 6, 2012. Approved family medical leave for David Withrow, teacher, Roosevelt Elementary, for up to 12 weeks of leave.
Approved to post the position of ESL Teacher, Central Office Itinerant, for the 2012-13 school year. County will be the funding source. Approved to delete the position of .5 Counselor, Point Pleasant Intermediate School, Job #218-435-P, effective for the 2012-13 school year. Approved to delete the position of Work Based Learning, Mason County Career Center, Job # 701-018-V, effective for the 2012-13 school year. Approved the employment of Stanley Cook, William Cox, Jennifer VanDevender, Luke Swiney, Christopher Walbrown, and Heather Moran, as substitute teachers for the 2011-12 school year. County will be the funding source.
(Note: The remainder of the approved items and personnel will appear in Friday’s edition.)