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Board asked to Review Decision

By Rick Loy - Staff Writer | Mar 17, 2021

Miranda Corcoran a lifelong resident of Paden City addressed the Wetzel County Board of Education on Monday, March 8, concerning the Boards recent decision to not renew Superintendent Ed Tomans contract.

Corcoran introduced herself for those who didn’t know her, and she said she had two main reasons for speaking.

One being her eight year old second grade son, Colt who is a student at Paden City Elementary and her three year old daughter Jolee who receives speech services also at Paden City Elementary.

“Almost one year ago to the day, our lives, as well as everyone else’s in this room, was turned upside down. We were all venturing into uncharted waters with no instruction manual to guide us along the way. As a parent I’ve looked towards our leaders for guidance and support. I’ve trusted the decisions made by the board members and our superintendent to keep my kids safe while still excelling,” Corcoran said.

She stated she only has two kids to worry about in her daily thoughts, and she has spent probably half of the year worrying that she wasn’t doing her best work as a mother, wife, virtual school teacher and employee. “I’ve struggled with monitoring sniffles, checking temperatures, disinfecting our home, vehicles and everything we come into contact with. I’ve worried that my kids are lacking social experiences and have lost sleep over whether they are as happy, as kids should be.”

“There has been a common theme over the past year, stress & worry. And that’s with only having to focus on my two children and our small family. I can’t even begin to imagine the stress of having to worry about the safety, mental and physical health and growth of an entire school district, it’s employees and students,” she added.

She said she truly doesn’t envy the job that any of the board sitting before her has to perform.

“I think our county has went above and beyond to do the absolute best that they could in this past year of uncertainty. I feel like Wetzel County is in a great place and I truly believe that is a result of a great display of leadership.”

Corcoran said, when Mr. Toman returned to Wetzel County, it was made very clear that we wanted a superintendent that would provide consistency and be committed to the well being of our children. And THAT is exactly what we have received.

“Mr. Toman is a man that cares about the students. He may not always be a people pleaser but tell me what good leader is”? “He is the type of man that takes the time to speak to students and parents when in public. He is involved in school activities and his presence is always welcome and appreciated,” Corcoran said.

“Mr. Toman is not a perfect superintendent. But if perfect is what you’re searching for, you’ll never find it.”

She said, In a year where a person has lost their father, was hospitalized with COVID, had an entire family and extended family contact COVID and STILL perform their job exceeding most of the standards of a recent evaluation, that’s pretty amazing.

“If Mr. Toman has areas of improvement I ask that we let him master those as we push our way through this pandemic, not when we are all treading water. Today I ask you board members to please reconsider your vote and renew Mr. Toman’s contract as the Wetzel County Board of Education Superintendent.”

Superintendent Toman told the board he wanted to clear up some things being said. “I had 82 standards to meet and only 3 the board had concerns about, and my five years as Wetzel County Superintendent I have a pretty good percentage. Just wanted to throw that out there for the people questioning.”

Toman went on to say that the Faculty Senate/LSCI (Local School Improvement Council) minutes is particularly important moving forward for the board to listen how to improve the schools of our county.

Also at the meeting on Monday, the Board granted approval of the 2021-2022 levy estimates and general current expense funds for submission to the appropriate State Agencies.

Superintendent Ed Toman recognized all the school nurses for their hard work during this pandemic and presented them certificates.

Toman also said they heard that more vials of the vaccine will arrive this week to get everyone vaccinated, at least for their first shot. He gave kudos to JoBeth for her great job organizing the vaccines.

Toman also asked the board to consider April 5, 2021 as a regular school day.

Mollie Toppe from the WVU Extension office addressed all the updates from this past year during the pandemic. Toppe said the Farmer’s Market had a record year making $25,000, the sale of animals brought in $41,000, and they served over 32,000 breakfast/lunches to students which was a tremendous amount. She went on to thank the board, staff, and everyone involved.

The approval of the minutes from the Regular Meeting – February 22, 2021 Special Meeting – March 2, 2021, was given by the board.

The Following Personnel Matters were approved:

Retirements: Barbara Cain, acceptance of retirement from position as cook at New Martinsville School, effective June 30, 2021. Candace Landers, acceptance of retirement from position as cafeteria manager at Paden City Elementary School, effective June 30, 2021. Jackie Patterson, acceptance of retirement from position as school secretary at New Martinsville School, effective June 30, 2021. Toni L. Shaver, acceptance of retirement from position as half-time physical education/health teacher at Short Line School, effective June 30, 2021 were all unanimously approved by the board.

The Treasurer’s report was approved unanimously for the payment of bills for the Month of February 2021 (invoices approved at this meeting are available for review at the Wetzel County Schools’ Financial Office); and approval for transfers and increases in the budget.

Discussion/Action on the renewal of the assistant superintendent’s contract for a one year period (2021-2022) under the same terms as the final year of his current contract (2020-2021) and the discussion with the Executive Director of the West Virginia School Board Association regarding the appointment of a superintendent of schools went into executive session.

After returning from executive session President Brian Price made no announcements of any decisions made during the executive session, and made the motion for adjournment which was seconded and approved unanimously.

DATE AND TIME OF NEXT MEETING: March 18, 2021 — Special Meeting/Countywide LSIC Reports, 5:00 p.m. March 22, 2021 – Regular Meeting, 6:00 p.m.