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Morgan County Schools names Willard assistant superintendent

July 19, 2007|by TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.VA. - Joan Willard is the new assistant superintendent for Morgan County Schools, and she is the first woman in county history to hold that spot, school officials confirmed.

"What an honor," Willard said.

A former principal of Widmyer Elementary School, Willard began her new job July 1.

She took over the assistant superintendent position from David Banks, who is the new superintendent.

"We are both people-oriented," she said, "and the focus will always be on the child. Every child is a puzzle, and we have to work as a team to make all the pieces fit."

Willard has been employed by schools for 32 years, and in 1975 was a special-education teacher in Martinsburg, W.Va.

She joined Morgan County Schools in 1989 as a special-education director, and has served as principal of North Berkeley and Widmyer elementary schools.

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Willard, 53, is in charge of all school personnel.

"I find it exciting to work in personnel," she said. "I've always found it fascinating. It's a challenge to bring people here and mold them into becoming great teachers. There are teachers who love what they do. My challenge is to get those people in our school system to engage in active learning."

Willard grew up in western Pennsylvania valuing education, she said, and both of her parents received college degrees. Her mother was a high school business-education teacher.

She graduated from Slippery Rock (Pa.) University with a degree in elementary education, specializing in special education. In 1980, she received her master's degree from West Virginia University in specific learning disabilities and earned certification as an education specialist from Marshall University in 1998.

Laura Smith, president of the Morgan County Board of Education, said she has known Willard for more than 23 years.

"Joan seems to be a natural fit with her Morgan County experience, plus her background in special education and administration," Smith said.

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