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Principal named for new ninth-grade school

March 25, 2002|BY DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The newly appointed principal at Jefferson County's new ninth-grade school said one of the biggest challenges of the job will be getting to know the students in such a short period of time.

Ralph Dinges said the advantage of elementary schools is that school administrators have six years to get to know the students and their parents.

It gives administrators time to determine who they can depend on in students' lives to deal with issues, said Dinges, who has served as the lead teacher at Rosemont Elementary School in Martinsburg, W.Va., for three years.

At the new ninth-grade center, Dinges and his teaching staff will have just one year to work with students.

"We're just going to have to bond faster. We're all going to pull together and it's going to be great," Dinges said from his home Sunday.

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The Jefferson County Board of Education hired Dinges Tuesday as the principal of the ninth-grade center, which is being constructed next to Jefferson High School in Shenandoah Junction, W.Va.

The $9.6 million school is being built to free up space in elementary schools for all-day kindergarten.

The school, which is scheduled to open in August, will serve all ninth-grade students from the county's junior high schools. The junior high schools will then be converted into middle schools serving sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

Superintendent of Schools Jud Romine said he is relieved to get someone like Dinges for the job because there are not a lot of candidates available for school administrator jobs.

"Let's just say it's a difficult job, to say the least," Romine said.

Romine said he was happy to get Dinges as an applicant because he is a Jefferson County resident and has a reputation of being a hard worker.

"He just seemed to be an all-around good candidate," Romine said.

As lead teacher at Rosemont Elementary, Dinges said he is involved in many administrative duties except evaluating employees.

Before Dinges came to Rosemont Elementary, he worked for 12 years at Musselman Middle School in Berkeley County as a science teacher.

Dinges received a bachelor's degree in public education from Shepherd College and received a master's degree in education administration from West Virginia University.

Dinges, his wife Catherine, and their two young children live in Middleway, W.Va.

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