On Monday, the Mingo County Board of Education had the challenging task of picking a new superintendent of schools.
The interviews lasted all day, and after the executive session, the BOE announced that longtime educator and Principal Don Spence was the choice.
Dave Farley, who just began his second term as a member of the BOE, is the current president of the governing body. He stated, “There were seven good candidates and it was difficult to eliminate anyone. Each had their strengths and we were happy to have such talent in our school system.”
“We had approximately 15 questions submitted by the Board members and an essay question. Cindy Daniel, W. Va. State Deputy Superintendent, sat in on most of the interviews to observe the process,” Farley added. “Technically, this county is still on a probationary period following the return of control to the local board. Ms. Daniel was impressed with our interview process and questions. She felt her presence was not needed for the rest of the interviews or the selection.”
Jackie Branch, who is vice president of the Mingo BOE said, “Our board members always seek consensus in making decisions in the best interests of our staff members and students. Mr. Spence was unanimously chosen by our board. He has a proven school leadership record and has demonstrated his capacity to lead faculty and students toward high academic achievement and high attendance rates.”
“We also believe our new superintendent has ideas, which will continue the practice of supporting and celebrating the successes of our schools, our students and our teachers,” Branch added.
“While it was a difficult decision, Mr. Spence had several attributes that stood out as traits we wanted in our interim superintendent. Also we took into consideration comments from the community and employees on attributes they wanted in a superintendent,” Farley said.
“Don Spence has been an educator in excess of 30 years and was the RESA II principal of the year in 2013. His school at Dingess was a W. Va. School of Excellence. During the interview, he stressed the importance of communication, honesty, transparency and the importance of a team effort to support our school system,” Farley concluded. “We believe Mr. Spence will be an excellent interim superintendent and we look forward to Mingo County’s progress under his leadership.”
The other three board members are longtime educator and BOE member June Glover, Mark Colegrove and Sabrina Grace. Grace just won election to the board in the May Primary Election. The vote was 5-0 after a motion by Colegrove and a second by Grace.
Sources told the Williamson Daily News the seven finalists included (in no particular order) Spence, Marcella Charles-Casto, Teddy Kinder, Paula-Hinkle Brown, Sabrina Runyon, Doug Ward and Thomas Hoffman.
Spence will take over for Dr. Robert Bobbera, who took over after the retirement of Randy Keathley in June of 2014. Bobbera had 33 years in the school system as a teacher, administrator and at the central office. After Bobbera was appointed superintendent by the state, Mingo County was still under state control. In just a short time the county regained control in December of 2014.
(Editor’s Note: The WDN will have an interview and story with Don Spence at a later date.)
(Kyle Lovern is the Managing Editor for the Civitas Media Mountain District including the Williamson Daily News and Logan Banner. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)