By Kyle Lovern
Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part feature on a recent Mingo County Board of Education workshop.
DELBARTON – The Mingo County Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Rob Bobbera met last week with Howard O’Cull, executive director of the West Virginia School Board Association, for a workshop at Connolly Memorial Baptist Church in Delbarton.
All five school board members, Dave Farley, Jackie Branch, June Glover, Bill Duty and Mark Colegrove, were present at the meeting with O’Cull, who wanted to discuss the future of the Mingo County school system and offer advice to the local school board and administrator.
Bobbera said he hopes to focus on leadership, being positive and to be goal-oriented.
“We want to help our students move forward. We want to make them better prepared for the future so they will be successful,” Bobbera said.
“County boards have a great responsibility,” O’Cull said.
Bobbera said that “we have some of the best students in the state.”
“We need to fix things and make it as best we can,” the superintendent said. “I’m very passionate. I have given my whole career to Mingo County.”
“It’s about accountability and ownership and to take ownership,” O’Cull said.
All agreed that teachers do not get paid what they deserve.
“It’s a calling,” O’Cull said of the occupation.
Bobbera said he also hopes to stress better communication.
“I plan to do everything in my power to facilitate and move the school system forward,” Bobbera said.
O’Cull said the school board needs to set the pace for change.
He asked the members to set four or five goals to accomplish in a given period of time. He said this would help the county regain local control of the school system.
Branch said she felt the board needed to be seen as a “cohesive unit.”
“That is one of the things the state audit said,” Branch added. “So, to me, that is a positive step to take and would be a good goal.”
“We need to present a united front,” Glover said.
O’Cull then asked the members to identify some of the things they could do to be viewed as a united group.
The items addressed included being organized and having good meeting management, to share information on problems, and to have open communication between members and the superintendent.
Being respectful to each of the members was another issue that was brought up.
A second goal that was discussed was raising standards for students. Elevating the expectations for the county’s students was suggested.
Another suggestion was the possibility of involving students as advisors.
One more possible goal that was brought up was celebrating student success. It was noted that many students do well in certain academic competitions and that they need to be recognized.
Also mentioned was recognizing staff accomplishments, such as receiving a doctorate degree, a master’s degree or becoming a nationally certified educator.
The school system is also contemplating having an informational Facebook page in order to keep up with the trend toward social networking.
It was also mentioned that schools can relay information on their message billboards at each location and that some facilities already do a good job with this.
Kyle Lovern is the sports editor of the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277, or on Twitter @KyleLovern.