Upshur BOE hires new superintendent

By Melissa Toothman

Staff Writer

The Upshur County Board of Education voted to hire a new superintendent Tuesday to replace the retiring Scott Lampinen. Roy Wager, who recently retired from his job as the Upshur school system’s federal programs director, will serve for one year as the superintendent.

Wager was appointed to the position after a 90-minute executive session during a special school board meeting Tuesday.

After the meeting, Wager said he had been approached by the board and asked to consider taking the position of superintendent. He said he had not originally thought about applying. The job was never formally posted because of the time constraints faced by the school board.

Board of Education president Teresa Bellamy said state law requires that the school board have a new superintendent by July 1, one day after Lampinen’s retirement will become effective. The board voted to accept his retirement on May 29.

“So this was the option that we had at this point,” Bellamy said. “We as a board felt like (Wager) had the experience. It would be a one-year appointment, and not taking someone out of a role that they were already in. We felt like Roy had a lot to offer as far as his number of years in the system and his knowledge.”

Wager said his background and experience with the school board will help prepare him for his new responsibilities as superintendent.

“I know a lot of people in the county,” Wager said. “I know parents at every school. I know students at every school. I know teachers and administrators at every school, so just having that knowledge going in is going to make it a lot easier on me.”

Wager said no job is without its difficulties, however.

“There’s a lot of new challenges coming from the state department,” Wager said. “The big thing is making sure that we are following all the new mandates that are coming down from the state as far as the Next Generation standards, the waiver that came from the U.S. Department of Education.

“We’ve got a lot of training of principals and new evaluation,” Wager said. “That’s going to probably be my main focus to start with. Then I’ll go with wherever the board leads me.”

Wager will receive a salary of $95,000 for the year. He said he was appointed to the position on the same day as his wife’s birthday.

Wager said he started his career in education when he became an elementary school teacher in 1972. He then became the principal of Hodgesville Elementary School and later served at both Main Street and Union elementary schools. Wager said he originally got his degree in secondary education, but was glad when he went back for a degree in elementary education. He said he loved his experience in elementary education.

Wager has served with the Upshur BOE as the Title I director, county test coordinator and preschool director . In December, he retired as the federal programs director.