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Stilley retains school board presidency

July 07, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The women won out Tuesday night.

Lori Stilley and Delores Milstead were re-elected as the Jefferson County Board of Education president and vice president, respectively, despite challenges from a new board member.

New member Jud Romine, a former Jefferson County Schools superintendent, nominated Alan Sturm to serve as president.

Stilley also was nominated and was elected to another term by a 3-2 vote. The women on the board - Stilley, Milstead and Cheryl Huff - voted for Stilley, while the men - Romine and Sturm - voted for Sturm.

Romine also nominated Sturm to serve as vice president, but he lost by the same vote.

Once the votes were cast, Stilley was ceremoniously presented with a gavel. She thanked her fellow board members and welcomed the newcomers, saying she looks forward to working with them.

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After being sworn in and volunteering to serve on various committees, Romine and Sturm were the guests of honor at a brief reception in the hallway outside the board's meeting room. Cake and homemade fruit punch were served.

Sturm, who retired as an assistant superintendent from the Upshur County, W.Va., school system, said he was "tickled" to be sitting in on his first Jefferson County board meeting.

"I want to keep seeing Jefferson County schools be all that they can be," Romine said, borrowing a phrase from the U.S. military. "I think there's so much potential here."

Sturm said he does not see any reason why Jefferson County schools could not be the best in the state.

Improving relations with Shepherd University is another goal, Sturm said.

For Romine, the meeting brought a dose of familiarity, although he was sitting in a different chair.

"It feels a little strange," he said of the move from superintendent to board member. "But we'll get used to it."

Romine, who retired in 1997 but returned for a year in 2001, said his interest in the school system never waned.

Challenges facing the board include keeping up with population growth and finding and keeping certified teachers, Romine said.

One of the first actions of the new board members was to help determine meeting dates. The board meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month, but Superintendent R. Steven Nichols suggested moving the meetings to Thursday nights.

Such a move would mean less conflict with the meetings of other government agencies, he said. Also, if school officials sit through a long meeting, they will at least know only one day separates them from a weekend, he added.

To accommodate board members' schedules, meetings were moved to the second and fourth Thursdays of each month. Meetings will still begin at 7:30 p.m. and the second meeting each month will be held at a school, starting in August.

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