BOE members send wishes to retiring Phares

ELKINS – Randolph County Board of Education members offered their best wishes Wednesday to the retiring state superintendent of schools, Dr. James B. Phares.

Phares announced his retirement on Tuesday after only 15 months on the job. Phares had previously served as Randolph County superintendent before taking office in January 2013. After Wednesday’s regular Randolph BOE meeting, members spoke about their experiences working with Phares.

“He has done a fine job both in Randolph County and statewide,” said BOE President Lisa Wamsley. “We wish him well.”

“I wish him all the best,” said board member David Kesling. “It was a pleasure working with him on the board.”

BOE members saluted Phares for his many years of service to education.

“He will be missed, as will his educational enthusiasm for the state,” Bruce Haddix said. “I’m sorry to see him leave.”

“I hate to see him leave,” said board member Harvey Taylor. “He was an awesome superintendent and did what he could to keep things on the right track.”

Ed Tyre said he was happy to see that Phares will soon have more time to spend with his wife and family.

“His leadership at the state level enabled some dramatic changes in personnel and curriculum,” said Randolph County Superintendent Terry George. “I hope the state continues that effort and efficiency. I hope they carefully conduct a search to find someone to continue to improve the initiatives he implemented. Whoever takes over for him has some big shoes to fill.”

Also during Wednesday’s meeting:

During the public comment section, Michael Boggs addressed the board as a concerned parent who had taken issue with some of the literary materials available to students at Homestead Elementary School.

Boggs told the board the materials, which he said were obtained through the Scholastic Book Club, featured depictions of graphic violence, occult-like references and glorification of drug use.

“I love and care about kids and I love and care about my son and daughter,” Boggs told the board. “I think we need a screening process for reading materials and how they are made available in schools.”

Boggs brought in many examples of what he deemed inappropriate material to read, saying he was able to obtain much of it at his child’s school. He also handed the board a petition with 135 signatures in support of some type of screening system.

Superintendent Terry George told Boggs the board would look into making an effort to screen reading materials in schools.

Jon Klingerman, the drumline instructor for Elkins High School, addressed the board regarding obtaining funding for the indoor drumline program. Klingerman said the group would need close to $9,000 in order to reach their goal.

Taylor and George told Klingerman the board would approve fundraising efforts for the project.

Joshua “Caleb” Shifflett, of Harman School, gave a presentation about his school’s use of levy funding. Shifflett said the school has boosted supplies for students for departments like art and science, and used it for positive behavior rewards like field trips.

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