LOW MOOR — The Alleghany Highlands Public Schools Division has hired an operations and project manager to strategically assist with day-to-day operations, construction, and capital projects.
The Alleghany Highlands School Board approved the appointment of Ben Jackson to the post on Feb. 27. He is working with Eric Tyree, the school division’s director of maintenance and transportation, to plan and organize larger-scale facilities projects.
Jackson, who has worked in project management since 2009, will play a key role in preparing AHPS schools for full consolidation in the fall. Much of the preparation work will involve Covington High School and Alleghany High School. CHS will become a middle school for students in grades 6-8. AHS will house students in grades 9-12.
“I am pleased to welcome Ben to our team here at Alleghany Highlands Public Schools and know that he will be a great asset to us as we work to welcome our students into the consolidated Covington Middle School and Alleghany High School communities,” Tyree said.
Most recently, Jackson was a project manager with Calao and Peter-Luxury Outdoor Environments in Fairfax. His work involved managing outdoor luxury living projects. He has also worked with two Roanoke firms, Edward Rose Development Co., and the Hatch Group, as an assistant project manager. From 2009-2012, he operated Jackson Land Planning and Design LLC, a firm that assisted local governments in research, design, project planning, and grant writing. He worked for the U.S. Forest Service in California while he was pursuing a master’s degree.
A graduate of Covington High School, Jackson holds a master’s degree in landscape architecture with a concentration in land planning from the University of California at Berkeley. He received his master’s degree in 2009. Jackson received a Bachelor of Science degree in geology with a concentration in environmental hydrology in 2006 from Western Carolina University. He graduated from Western Carolina magna cum laude. He also graduated from Dabney S. Lancaster Community College (Mountain Gateway Community College) with an associate’s degree in 2003.
“I am happy to join the Alleghany Highlands Public Schools team, and look forward to helping in any way I can in such an exciting time for the area,” Jackson said.
The Alleghany Highlands School Board adopted a strategic timeline in October 2022 that outlines orderly planning for the full consolidation of schools this fall. The Alleghany Highlands Public Schools Division was formed in July 2022 when Alleghany County Public Schools, Covington City Public Schools, and Jackson River Technical Center merged.
In the initial phase of the merger, the school board and administrative offices merged. This fall will bring the full merger of the student body. Most of the student movement will involve Covington High School, which will become Covington Middle School, and Alleghany High School. AHS will serve as the high school for the joint school division.
The school division is already carrying out planned work projects to get ready for the 2023-2024 school year. The work will gradually evolve over the spring and summer, and the projects are being planned to minimize disruptions in classrooms. The work will include exterior painting, painting of high-traffic areas, and landscaping. The gymnasium at Alleghany High School is expected to receive a wooden floor and other improvements this summer.
AHPS school facilities will be closed to public use most of the summer while various projects are carried out. The existing school buildings are adequate for student use, but the division is carrying out additional projects to enhance the facilities.
Among the long-term projects being considered are the specific details of renovations to outdoor track facilities at AHS, a project that has already received approval from the school board. The board is also weighing the possibility of constructing new tennis courts at AHS.
With approximately 2,700 students, the Alleghany Highlands Public Schools Division is jointly funded by Alleghany County and the City of Covington. School division news and events are regularly posted on Facebook at AHPublicSchools. The web address is www.ahps.k12,.va.us.