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Principal says good-bye to students, staff

April 14, 2001

Principal says good-bye to students, staff



By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer


INWOOD, W.Va. - Valley View Elementary School Principal Margaret Kursey walked out onto the lawn of the school Friday morning, clutching the hand of one of her young students, to participate in what she thought was a routine drill.

Instead, students, staff members, bus drivers, her parents and some of her friends had gathered for a special ceremony to say good-bye.

Kursey, who has spent her entire career at the school, will become principal of the new Eagle School Intermediate in north Martinsburg next year.

"She's touched a lot of lives," said Joyce Kees, president of the 400-member PTA at Valley View. "She always puts the children first.

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"We're going to miss her. We're sending Martinsburg our best."

During the ceremony, Kees told the students that "we think it will be great to share her with a lot of other children."

"Great schools have great leaders," Superintendent of Schools Manny Arvon said at the ceremony. "Mrs. Kursey is Berkeley County's All-Star."

Two trees were planted in Kursey's honor.

Kursey had planted other trees on the schooI grounds during her years there. Kees said the school is made welcoming by the colorful flags Kursey has flying, the flowers she has planted and her ever-cheerful demeanor.

"She was always cheerful," echoed Melissa Curtis, mother of a third-grader and a volunteer in the school.

In an interview, Arvon said Valley View "has exhibited very strong gains" in academic performance as measured by tests and in increased attendance.

"She has all the qualities that are obvious in good leadership," Arvon said. "She supports her teachers. They respect her.

"Her bottom line has always been to do what is best for her children."

Kursey was given a box of candy kisses and signed cards. There was a rendition of "For She's A Jolly Good Fellow" and more hugs than could be counted.

Kursey, 37, came to Valley View as a teacher 16 years ago and worked her way into the job of principal.

A fifth-grade teacher inspired Kursey to become a teacher, a goal that remained her focus from that grade forward, said her mother, Ceil Frazier. Her father, Raymond Frazier, is a former Jefferson County School superintendent.

"She just was born to be a teacher," her mother said.

Kursey said she had a couple of small hints that something might be out of the ordinary, but was surprised by the ceremony.

"It's a real special place," Kursey said.

She will make the transition from this job to her new job between now and the rest of the school year.

"This is the only school I've ever been in, so it was time," she said.

She told the children: "I love each and every one of you. I'll be back."

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