Board Interviews Two For Superintendent’s Position
A Wetzel County Schools administrator and a county superintendent were the first two persons to have public interviews with the board of education March 14 to succeed retiring Wetzel County Superintendent Bill Jones at the end of the current school year.
Jones, on the job for four years, was called out of retirement from a career in education, most of it in Wetzel County.
Each of the candidates was asked the same five public questions, then spoke privately with the board in executive session.
No other votes were taken when the board reconvened in public session except to adjourn.
The five public questions pointed to familiarity with the county school system, their experience, their leadership qualities, and the role of technology in education.
Deanna L. Myers, a resident of Parkersburg, has been Wetzel County Director of Elementary Education and Title I for five years, commuting daily to her job.
A veteran educator with 40 years’ experience, she had been a Title I interventionist/teacher in Wood County. She holds baccalaureate and master degrees from West Virginia universities and received her administrative certification from Salem University.
Myers said she understands the impact on Wetzel County schools of a declining population and said educators must “think outside the box and be creative” in sharing teaching resources among schools. She also said that the school system needs “to prepare students for a job in the 21st Century” by teaching skills that will be needed.
Technology, she said, is used well in the school system in many areas and should continue to be used “to drive instruction.” Myers also noted West Virginia, and Wetzel County, have agreed to participate in Common Course Standards, beginning with the first grade in 2012 and extending to grades 3-12 in 2014.
Common Course Standards are similar to the present Core Curriculum, but that students will be tested and compared with students across the nation, a move away from WesTest II that compares students within the state. In that regard, she said educators must make a clearer statement on expectations to students and staff alike.
A second candidate, Taylor County Superintendent of Schools Dian Watts, has been at her position for three years and has 30 years of experience in public education as an elementary and secondary teacher and administrator.
She told the board that Taylor and Wetzel counties compare favorably with respect to student population, number of employees, number of schools, and budgets.
Watts said leadership is built on respect for students, teachers, and administrators. “A good leader learns to listen,” adding the importance of including others in the decision-making process.
She said one way teachers could become more engaged in 21st Century Learning is by visiting schools where it is working, not “having it shoved onto them,” adding that teachers should have strong support throughout the design and implementation of new teaching/learning techniques.
Watts said technology should be harnessed to enhance learning, “not just assumed to be good because it’s ‘high tech.’ Technology should be used gingerly and selectively,” Watts concluded, with objectives clearly defined and hardware/software selected to enhance them.
The board has other interviews scheduled in the coming weeks and hopes to make a final decision on offering the position to a candidate by April 1.