Longtime Pike educator dies
by Ralph B. Davis
Julia Roberts Goad
A long time Pike County educator will be laid to rest Saturday after serving Kentucky schools on the state and local level.
Frank Welch was 78 when he died earlier this week in Lexington after devoting almost 50 years to Kentucky’s public schools.
Welch began his career as a teacher at Belfry High School in 1957 after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in English, a member of the first class to receive a four year degree from Pikeville College. He later became Principal at Bevins Elementary and lather Principal of Belfry High School from 1971 until 1998, Superintendent of Pike County Schools from 1998 until his retirement in 2006.
Welch won over 15 prestigious awards from state and national education associations, including the Kentucky Superintendent of the Year from the Kentucky Association of School Administrators in 2004 and a Top Ten Superintendent of the Nation from the American Association of School Administrators in 2005. He served eight different positions on task forces and boards for state education associations and committees for the Kentucky Department of Education.
Belfry’s current Principal Rod Varney told the Daily News he came to know Welch was an elementary student and Welch a coach.
“Mr. Welch taught me in high school, then I worked for him as a coach and a teacher when he was principal at Belfry,” Varney said. “He was supportive of all the programs at the school, but he put an emphasis on academics. He elevated the educational process at Belfry to be competitive with any school in Kentucky.”
Varney called Welch a “giant in the education field” and said there would be a void left in the Belfry High School family.
“He was as dedicated as an individual can be to a school as well as to education,” Varney said.
The bond between Frank Welch and the educational community is such that his funeral services will be held in the auditorium of Belfry High School.
Funeral services will be held there at 11 a.m. Saturday. Burial will follow at Sidney, Ky.
Visitation will be held in the auditorium of the school Friday from 6 until 9 p.m., with a special service at 7 p.m.
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