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Board Votes To Dismiss Snodgrass

By Staff | Jun 24, 2009

The Wetzel County Board of Education voted unanimously to dismiss a Hundred High School teacher June 18 for what informed observers say was an alleged breach of security of the WesTest, administered at the school during the week of May 25.

Superintendent of Schools Bill Jones, who recommended the action, declined to give a reason for the termination, referring questions on the matter to the minutes of the board meeting. Board President Mike Blair also declined comment.

A spokesman for the West Virginia Department of Education would say only that her agency “conducted an investigation in cooperation with Wetzel County” authorities.

According to the minutes, the board voted to suspend Thomas L. Snodgrass with pay, effective May 28; to suspend him without pay for 30 days beginning June 3; and to dismiss him as an employee, effective June 18.

No cause or causes for the termination were specified in the minutes, but they did note that the hearing was closed. They also indicated that, after a lengthy hearing, the board adjourned to executive session at 12:56 a.m., Friday, presumably to deliberate on the matter and reconvened in public session at 1:04 a.m. to vote.

The school system was represented at the meeting by Rick Boothby of the Charleston law firm of Bowles Rice. Snodgrass was represented by Wray Voegelin of Cassidy, Myers, Cogan and Voegelin, Wheeling. A message left at Voegelin’s office early Monday was not returned at press time. Snodgrass has been with the county school system for 22 years.

At its regular meeting June 15, the board employed the following professional personnel for the 2009 extended year program in special education: Mary E. Bartsch, Jason S. Ensinger, Anita M. Howell, Christine M. Mace, Nicki L. Natali, Gabrielle B. Palmer, Kimberly A. Sobataka, Teresa L. Standiford, and Carol A. Zombotti.

Steven M. Wayts was employed as bus operator and the following employees were approved as aides: Terry D. Greene, Alan J. Miller, JoDell S. Ritchea, Pamela J. Shockley, Thomas E. Tennant, and Kimberly L. Underwood.

In addition, the board re-employed several teachers for the 2009-10 school year on the basis of a permit or out-of-field authorization, all pending receipt of the appropriate state credentials:

Leslie C. Emch, countywide early start/pre-school special needs, based at the Wetzel County Center for Children and Families. Also based there, and in the same area, will be Ashley L. Greene and Margeau R. Hafer.

Amanda J. Ice was re-employed in the same area based at Short Line School and Julie R. McCartney will be will be halftime preschool special needs at SLS.

Mary M. Melott will be assigned as halftime, countywide teacher of the gifted and Ellen N. Sprowl will be assigned to New Martinsville School as reading intervention teacher. Stephanie L. Tison will be countywide teacher at NMS for ESL and Molly A. Toppe will be assigned to SLS as Title I Reading Teacher.

The board also approved out of state trips for Fay Shank to attend the summer leadership retreat in Lexington, Ky., from June 15-16. The trip will be paid with a Benedum Foundation grant.

In addition, a request from Dawn West was approved to take Wetzel County Summer Fun students to the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh on July 29. That trip will be funded by Title I funds from SLS and Long Drain School.