October 16, 2018 - Volume 38 Issue 10



The West Virginia School Board Association’s (WVSBA)  Saturday, November 3, training session (Stonewall Jackson Resort, Roanoke, W. Va.) will be devoted primarily to process and procedures for county superintendent evaluation.

According to WVSBA Executive Director Howard M. O’Cull, Ed.D., county board members are to receive training in terms of the process for county superintendent evaluation.

“We planned this training so that county board members can attend both in person as well as receive this training in an alternate format,” according to O’Cull.

He noted the statute requiring county superintendent evaluation was adopted in the early 1990s.

“With both newly-elected county board members and newly-appointed county superintendents this training becomes necessary as outlined in state Board of Education policy. “The training is primarily set in state policy,” he said.

The training sessions commence at 9:00 a.m. with the conference to conclude by 3:00 p.m.

Other sessions concern newly-adopted School Building of West Virginia (SBA) policies relating to facilities and presentations by each of the state’s Educational Services Cooperatives (ESCs).

For more information, contact O’Cull at hocull@wvsba.org Telephone numbers:  304-346-0571 (work) / 304-549-9463 (mobile)

West Virginia School Board Association President Lori Kestner (Marshall) is spearheading an effort to “reinvigorate” WVSBA’s advocacy efforts, especially at the state level.

Kestner, who first proposed concepts for the advocacy approach in July,  said she is “not alone in concluding the association needs to be a better advocate for students and sound educational policies at the legislative and state Board of Education levels.”

While Kestner notes the “diversity of our 55 county boards and 275 county boards of education members, we can find positions that align with a bolder approach to legislative effectiveness. Rather than fixating on member diversity, we must concentrate on energizing our county boards and county board members so we can influence legislation and, in doing so, promote what is best for students.”

Various ideas have been discussed, Kestner says.

“The first thing is to secure a greater  pinpointed, powerful and directed advocacy presence at the Capitol. It is more than showing up as any effective group will tell you. We must secure persons who can and will represent our organization effectively – that is with the stated and sound backing of our counites,” said Kestner.

The association president said, however, “A lobbyist or bunches of lobbyists cannot replace what we must do to as county board members to advocate for the organization. In the end our visibility is what counts. Simply put,  is it is up to members to advocate for the organization and, in doing so, the students of our counties. I don’t see that we have done this too well. In fact, we, ourselves, must want to become advocates for public education. We can’t solely  rely on others as advocates. We know our counties, our communities and we are elected by the same folks who elect legislators.”

Kestner said special details regarding advocacy will be decided at an executive board held in conjunction with the November 3 WVSBA training session.

A memorial service for Nora Jean Cantner of Culpeper, Va., was held was held in May. Mrs. Cantner, known as “Jean,” was born October 26, 1929. She died March 7, 2018. Prior to serving as West Virginia School Board Association (WVSBA) administrative assistant in the late 1970s-early 1980s, Mrs. Cantner was employed by the U.S. Bureau of Public Debt in  Parkersburg and Marbon Chemical. She and her husband, Dan, relocated to Culpeper following his retirement from state government.  A native West Virginian, Mrs. Cantner was  a graduate of Parkersburg High School where she was active in the choir and theater. As a young adult Mrs. Cantner chaired the Parkersburg Women’s Club and was a member of  several organizations, including the National Wildlife Federation. She also directed the United Methodist Church Children’s Choir. She and her husband were active in the Culpeper community and United Methodist Church. Later in life Mrs. Cantner enrolled in clowning classes. She and her miniature dachshund, “Sprite,” delivered heartfelt laughs and smiles to many patients at hospitals in the Culpeper area, according to her obituary published by the Clore-English Funeral Home in Culpeper. Her clowning activities are mentioned in Allan Luks’ and Peggy Payne’s book “The Healing Power of Doing Good.” In addition to her husband, Mrs. Cantner is survived by five children, five grandchildren and several nephews and nieces and their children and grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents and her three siblings.