The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

Local News

July 3, 2014

Interim super, BOE members sworn into office

Fayette County School’s Interim Superintendent Dr. Serena Starcher gaveled her first board of education meeting into session Tuesday evening after stepping up to fill the role recently vacated by former county superintendent Keith Butcher.

Leading off the meeting’s agenda, Starcher was first to take her oath of office before Circuit Judge John Hatcher, followed by re-elected board members Steve Bush and Pat Gray and newcomer Patsy Holliday.

As part of Starcher’s interim role, she will serve six months in the superintendent position, or until a new superintendent is selected by the state board of education.

“My belief is that the state board of education will wait until the new superintendent is in place before hiring and placing (a new superintendent) here in Fayette County,” said Starcher.

After a new superintendent is hired, Starcher said she will return to her job as the county’s associate superintendent, a position she has held for more than seven years.

While it was initially scheduled for the board to also elect a new board president and vice president Tuesday evening, that item was tabled until next week due to a technicality.

“The vote has to take place after the first Monday of the month, whereas yesterday was the last Monday in June,” explained current board vice president Lou Jones. “We’ll do it at next Monday’s organizational meeting instead.”

Aside from oaths of office, Tuesday’s meetings carried a light agenda, and much of the time was dedicated instead to board comments.

Jones led the comments by first informing the board of a letter she recently received in the mail by Fayette County resident Dorothy Foster, who suggested a possible solution for the Fayette Institute of Technology’s current overcrowding issue.

“We have people who are waiting to take classes,” said Jones. “I think there are about 80 students and she made a suggestion that the former Danese Elementary School building is vacant, and maybe we could set up some classes there.”

Jones said she thinks that the suggestion is worth looking into to see if the idea could be plausible.

Next, Gray took time to thank Starcher for her willingness to serve as the board’s interim superintendent.

“Over the last three superintendents, there’s been one constant for us in the leadership of Fayette County, and that’s been Dr. Starcher,” said Gray.

Gray also took time to request community volunteers to help this month in the disassembly of the old playground equipment at Ansted Elementary, as new equipment will be installed beginning in August.

New board member Patsy Holliday took the floor to request that the board work more toward “a real transparency” rather than the “selective transparency” she currently perceives in her new position. She also thanked the board and public for welcoming her aboard.

Lastly, Ivey asked Starcher about the Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan, which is currently under review.

“I met with Williamson Shriver Architects yesterday, that’s the firm that’s been selected for the educational planning work here in Fayette County and review of our CEFP,” said Starcher. “We drafted this schedule of meetings and events as it relates to the review, which we plan to start on Aug. 11.”

Starcher said the CEFP subcommittee meetings at the county’s individual schools will begin on Aug. 18, and she intends to have a schedule of the meetings published in The Fayette Tribune in the upcoming weeks.

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