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New Jefferson Co. board members look forward to challenges

July 05, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - It was the new face of the Jefferson County Board of Education, combining the experience of a former longtime member of the board with a former Jefferson County Commissioner, a former teacher in the local school system and an attorney.

The four new board members - Pete Dougherty, Gary Kable, Mariland Dunn Lee and Scott Sudduth - joined sitting board member Alan Sturm when they were sworn in Monday night by Berkeley County Circuit Judge David Sanders.

The four new board members talked enthusiastically about meeting the challenges ahead of them, working with school system employees and encouraging their participation.

"We have a great team and I think we have an excellent chance for success," Kable, a former county commission member, said after being sworn in.

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"Obviously this is a special night for all of us. We will work as hard as we can," added Dougherty, who was on the board for 18 years before being defeated in 2002.

Dougherty, Kable, Lee - a former longtime teacher at Jefferson High School - and Sudduth - an attorney with a background in higher education - overwhelmingly defeated former board members Lori Stilley, Delores Milstead and Cheryl Huff in a closely watched primary election May 9.

The campaign focused on issues like a $3.5 million cost overrun on the county's second high school near the Huntfield development, complaints that the public was having a difficult time getting information about the school system and that the school system had not met requirements for funding from the School Building Authority.

After being sworn in Monday night at the board of education office on Mordington Avenue, the new board took up business such as electing the president and vice president of the board.

By unanimous votes, Dougherty was elected president and Sturm was elected vice president.

The board members then decided who would sit on various other boards and Superintendent of Schools R. Steven Nichols told the board about a tour of Jefferson High School that has been set up for Friday morning to see renovations under way there.

"We'll provide hard hats," Nichols said.

Board members discussed having a daylong retreat to analyze the current status of the school system.

A date of Aug. 16 had been recommended but board members were interested in having it sooner, possibly Aug. 4.

During the retreat, board members will look at the school system's finances, personnel, construction projects and other areas, board members said.

The intent is to see the "whole ball of wax" so board members will be able to start making decisions about the school system, Kable said.

The board of education will continue to meet the second and fourth Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. The new board's first meeting will be July 13.

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