The Alleghany Highlands Public Schools became official on Friday, July 1, and its school board held its historic meeting the same day in the Central Office Complex in Low Moor.
The honor of gaveling the meeting to order was bestowed upon Dr. Paul Linkenhoker, a retired Army Reserve Colonel, and he began the meeting by presenting a brief history of both Covington City Schools and Alleghany County Public Schools.
He shared his recollection of events that led to the consolidation of the Clifton Forge City Schools with Alleghany County Public Schools in 1983 and how well the students got along with one another.
Linkenhoker remembered, “I’m proud to be here 60 years after I entered school in Covington.”
Having served as a teacher in the Covington City Schools and as an administrator in the Alleghany County Public Schools, Linkenhoker shared his unique perspective about the journey to consolidation and a hopeful path forward.
He recounted the role he played as a professional educator in both school systems, and he complimented those present who spent the past two years working out the details about the way the two school systems would proceed once they were consolidated.
Linkenhoker complimented those on the consolidation committee and all who played a role in bringing about the historic meeting he had just called to order.
“I am proud of you and the hard work you have done,” Linkenhoker remarked.
After Jacob Wright was nominated and approved without opposition as chairman of the new school board, Linkenhoker turned the gavel over to him.
Josh Arritt was then elected without opposition as the vice-chairman of the new school board, and other appointments were made.
Former Covington City Schools Superintendent Melinda Snead-Johnson noted that she had been a special education teacher for many years before becoming the superintendent, and she said that former Alleghany County Public Schools Superintendent Kim Halterman, who was seated beside her, had worked diligently with her as they created the new school system’s policies.
Halterman said, “We’ve had a lot of input for the policies we have put together.”
The position for the new superintendent for Alleghany Highlands Public Schools was not filled during the meeting.
Wright led the way for the unanimous approval of agenda item, 23.03, “Code of Conduct,” and it was passed by a 7-0 vote along with agenda item, 23.04, “Policy Manual” that Snead-Johnson noted will be posted on the Alleghany Highlands Public Schools’ website.
Two items were deleted from the agenda at the beginning of the meeting, but the other items on the agenda that included various appointments to various positions were dealt with in an orderly manner, resulting in the needed positions being filled.
During the comment time for school board members, each of the seven members took turns sharing their thoughts.
Tammy Scruggs-Duncan, executive director of the Alleghany Highlands Arts Council, said “I’m honored to be on the school board on this historic day.”
She continued, “We have so much potential, and I think our school board members will blend together well.”
“I’ll be keeping an eye on the arts and public safety,” Scruggs-Duncan concluded.
Gerald Franson remarked, “I want to welcome all here and thank those who have worked double time and tirelessly to make this happen.”
Marie Fitzpatrick commented, “I am possibly the oldest member, and I am the only one who is not from here.”
She explained that she moved to the Alleghany Highlands from W.Va. and that she and her husband raised four children in Covington.
Fitzpatrick noted, “Four of our children went through the Covington School System, and two went on and got master’s degrees and one a PhD.”
Josh Arritt amplified the remarks of Franson by observing, “Gerald says a lot of what I think, and a lot of the meetings were held where a lot of the work was done successfully.”
John Littleton said, “I’m excited about giving our children more opportunities.”
Danielle Morgan noted that she attended Alleghany High School, and she said that the path forward will present challenges.
She said that it has been awesome, and that she is the perfect perfectly imperfect member who knows that the plan is the only constant.
“It’s a great day for the Alleghany Highlands,” Morgan concluded.
Wright observed, “It’s been such a great experience what we have done during the past two years.”
He continued, “I don’t think that anyone realizes how much those behind the scenes did to get this done.”
The two former superintendents commented too. Halterman said, “It has been a wonderful adventure, and it is an absolute honor to be here.”
She concluded, “We know that there is a lot of work ahead of us.”
Snead-Johnson offered, “We have spent long hours working together, and I thank Kim for working with me.”
The school calendar was approved as follows: July 4, holiday; July 19, VSBA Conference on Schools; Aug. 11, Division-Wide Convocation; Aug. 17, first day of school; and Nov. 16-17, YSBA Annual Convention.
|Jacob Wright was nominated and elected by acclamation as the Alleghany Highlands Public Schools’ first chairman of the school board. (Photo by M. Ray Allen)|
|The Alleghany Highlands Public Schools held its first school board meeting in Low Moor at its Central Office Complex on July 1. (Photo by M. Ray Allen)|