New principals, teacher of the year announced in Berkeley County

June 18, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |
  • Jodi Kissner, left, is congratulated by William F. "Bill" Queen, president of the Berkeley County Board of Education, after she was named Berkeley County Schools Teacher of the Year during a ceremony Monday night.
Photo by Matthew Umstead

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The first principal of Spring Mills High School will not have to drive much farther to work than his current administrative assignment with Berkeley County Schools.

Marc Arvon, who has been principal of Spring Mills Middle School since it opened in 2004, was named principal of the county’s fourth public high school, which is slated to open for classes next year at the Spring Mills educational campus.

Arvon’s appointment, along with the appointment of Trent Sherman to be Martinsburg High School’s next principal, were approved by the Berkeley County Board of Education Monday night by a 4-0 vote. Board member Ron Gray abstained from voting because the transfer of a family member to another school was among the personnel actions recommended by Assistant Superintendent Don Dellinger.

The appointments, which were among 19 pages of personnel changes, came after school officials announced Martinsburg High School science teacher Jodi Kissner as the Berkeley County Teacher of the Year for the 2012-13 school year.

Sherman, who was an assistant principal at MHS, was named acting principal in March after  Regina Phillips requested medical leave. Phillips did not return for the remainder of the academic school year, and Superintendent Manny Arvon said Phillips did not give a reason for submitting her resignation earlier this month.

In the letter, Arvon said Phillips indicated that she was happy to have worked in Berkeley County. Phillips was appointed principal of Berkeley County’s largest public school in 2008 after having served as assistant principal at North Hagerstown and Clear Spring high schools in Washington County and principal at Fort Ritchie National Role Models Academy, administering residential and academic programs for at-risk youths.

Manny Arvon said he purposely avoided any involvement in the appointment of Marc Arvon at Spring Mills because they are brothers.

“Once he became a candidate, my involvement in the whole process dissolved,” Manny Arvon said. “Marc has to stand on his merit.”

Dellinger said seven people applied for the principal’s job at Spring Mills High School and four were interviewed.

According to the school district, Marc Arvon has more than 34 years of experience in public education, including nine years as a high school principal at Sherman and Jefferson high schools in West Virginia.

Sherman was an assistant principal of curriculum and instruction at MHS since 2008, according to the school district. And Dellinger said a similar number of applicants applied for the job.

The appointments of Marc Arvon and Sherman were made effective July 2. The school’s board appointment of Brent Sherrard to be the next principal at Mill Creek Intermediate School, which also was approved Monday night, was made effective July 16.

Sherrard replaces Erica Propst, who was previously appointed to be the next principal at Rosemont Elementary School.

Kissner, 49, of Clear Spring, said she was quite pleased to bring the honor back to Martinsburg High School, where she has taught since 2002.

The incoming chairwoman of the science department at MHS said she was in a state of disbelief when board president William F. “Bill” Queen joined Superintendent Arvon at the podium in the Spring Mills Primary School cafeteria/auditorium to announce this year’s top teacher award.

Jack Breech of Martinsburg South Middle School, Alanda Hall and Bethany Miller of Berkeley Heights Elementary School, Jane Mathis of Musselman Middle School and Sara McMillen of Mill Creek Intermediate School were the other finalists for the honor.

Prior to working for the school system, Kissner said she worked as a medical technologist with Chambersburg (Pa.) Hospital for 13 years. 

“I do a lot of performance-based testing,” said Kissner of her approach to teaching students.

Sherman credited Kissner’s work to develop the school’s forensic science program, while outgoing science department chairwoman Wanda Miller said in a news release that her colleague’s classes are always innovative.

“She keeps the rest of us on target,” Miller said. 

When asked about her apparent loyalty to Martinsburg High, Kissner said the school, with its diverse  population, feels like Chambersburg High School, which she attended 30 years ago.

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