Mason County Schools hires new principals


August 15, 2012

POINT PLEASANT — At Tuesday evening’s regular meeting of the Mason County Board of Education, board members welcomed two new principals and other personnel for the 2012-13 school year.

The first individual to be presented to the board was Shawn Hawkins, who will be filling the position of principal at Point Pleasant Intermediate School.

“I look forward to being in Mason County,” Hawkins said. Hawkins continued, sharing some of her goals for the new school year with the board, one of which was to continue raising test scores.

Following Hawkins was the introduction of Stacy Bissell, who will be filling the position of principal at New Haven Elementary School. Bissell also spoke to the board and stated she is looking forward to the beginning of the new school year.

“I’m very excited to be here,” Bissell said.

Following the presentation of Bissell, current principal of Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School (PPJSHS) William Cottrill introduced his assistant principals, including two new personnel, and briefly discussed their roles for the 2012-13 school year. The two new assistant principals included Jackie Schimmel and Ellen Vannoy. Cottrill introduced Schimmel and Vannoy and stated their duties, which were overseeing Special Education on the high school side of the building and overseeing curriculum on the junior high side of the school, respectively.

Cottrill also introduced Kent Price, Kerri Lewis and Stacey Walton and discussed their duties for the 2012-13 school year. Price will be in charge of discipline and athletics for the high school side. Lewis will oversee curriculum for the high school side, and Walton will oversee Special Education and Discipline on the junior high side.

“I am extremely excited to have these guys with me,” Cottrill said.

Following the introduction of the new principals and personnel, board members also were presented with several reports informing them of aspects of the 2012-13 school year.

Aaron Friday, representing a program known as Mountaineer Challenge, spoke to the board and updated the members on what the program offers and their history with Mason County Schools. It was reported that Mountaineer Challenge is a quasi-military program that assists at risk youth who are in danger of either not graduating with their class, or not graduating at all. Friday stated the program is not a rehab center, but a place for students to learn self-discipline and for them to become good and contributing citizens.

Following Friday, Larry Wright, Transportation Director for Mason County Schools, presented a report on transportation and the buses for the 2012-13 school year. Among Wright’s report was a discussion of the current budget for buses and repairs, as well as an update on the safety of Mason County School bus drivers. Wright stated there were not any bus accidents in the 2011-12 school year and he added that West Virginia was considered one of the safest states in the United States when it came to school buses. Wright also discussed extra bus trips and how the extra trips are dispersed among the bus drivers for the county.

Tonya Martin, Humans Resource Coordinator, then spoke to the board regarding personnel and job openings. Martin also discussed the number of substitute teachers the county currently has and the county’s current numbers on the Reduction In Force (RIF) list. Martin stated there were previously 30 individuals on the RIF list and Mason County Schools was currently down to one. She added there was also a job posting in the area of the one individual left on the RIF list, so it is expected the RIF list to be down to zero very soon.

Following Martin, members from the curriculum department presented a report on WESTEST scores from the last three school years in order to show the board how test scores are improving. Members of the board were able to see the average test scores for each grade level from the past three school years and how those test scores compared to the average for the state of West Virginia. In many instances, test scores varied whether they were above, at, or below the average for the state. But in most grade levels, the results presented to the board showed that test scores for Mason County are improving from year to year in most subjects.

In addition to Superintendent Dickens, board members present were Thomas Nunnery, Randy Searls, Greg Fowler, Paul Sayre, and Dale Shobe.

The Mason County Board of Education will meet again for a Special Policy/Regular Business meeting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 21, a the Mason County Career Center.

(Note: A list of the approved agenda and personnel items from this meeting will appear in a later edition.)