October 18, 2016 - Volume 36 Issue 10



Meeting September 9, county board members who served as voting members of the West Virginia School Board Association elected nine individuals, including three at-large representatives, and six persons to fill regional director positions.

Each of the six will become members of the association’s 28 member Executive Board or governing board.

The members’ terms will expire at WVSBA’s Winter Conference FY18 Annual Business meeting which will be held February 25, 2017 in Charleston.

Those elected to regional officer positions include:

Region 3

David Pierson Jr., vice president Clay County Board of Education. Pierson serves as president of Pierson Lumber Company Inc. He has worked in the lumber and logging industry throughout his life. He also owns two other businesses. He has served as a volunteer fireman since age 14. He also is a part-time farmer since “I was old enough to drive a tractor,” he said. Pierson has served as a member of the Clay County Board of Education for more than 10 years (non-consecutive terms).

Region 4

Gus Penix, Ed.D., President Nicholas County Board of Education. Dr. Penix retired with over 43 years of service in the public schools of West Virginia, having served as a teacher, principal, district financial officer, superintendent of two school districts, director of a Regional Education Service Agency (RESA) and executive director of the state Board of Education’s Office of Education Performance Audits (OEPA). During his recent tenure as director of the OEPA, Dr. Penix guided the state board of education in developing a new system for accrediting all schools and school systems in West Virginia, based on court mandated requirements, legislatively enacted performance expectations, and state board of education adopted high quality standards. Dr. Penix says the high quality standards focus on the continuous improvement of culture, instruction, learning, and leadership for all public schools and county school districts in the state. Penix was elected to the Nicholas County Board this year.

Eugenia “Jeanie” Wyatt, President Greenbrier County Board of Education. She has served on the Greenbrier County Board since 2006. She has been board president since July 2014.  Wyatt is a native of Greenbrier County, Wyatt is a 1976 graduate of Greenbrier East High School and a 1980 graduate of West Virginia University. She has a B.S. degree in Dental Hygiene.  For 16 years, Jeanie worked full time in a private dental practice. For the last 25 years, she and her husband have owned and operated Greenbrier Photography Studio at The Greenbrier. The mother of three children, Jeanie was a very active volunteer in her children’s schools and served on the LSIC’s at Lewisburg Elementary, Eastern Greenbrier Jr. High and Middle School, and Greenbrier East High School. She and her husband Mike reside in Lewisburg and are the parents of Rob Wyatt, an attorney in Morgantown, Susie a fourth grade teacher at Crichton Elementary in Greenbrier County, and Amy a senior at West Virginia University majoring in Speech Pathology. Wyatt represents the Greenbrier County Board on the Headstart Policy Council, Community/Technical Education Advisory Board, Special Education Self Assessment and the Greenbrier County Schools Foundation.

Region 5

Gregory Boggs, vice president Roane County Board of Education. Boggs lives near Spencer (Roane County).  He is a graduate of Spencer High School.  He is a graduate of West Virginia University where he obtained a B.S and M.A. degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, respectively.  He has resided in Spencer since 1996 when he returned to work in his family’s oil and natural gas business.  He is married to Sati Boggs, a teacher at Roane County High School and has two children, Kiran and Suraya Boggs, presently attending Spencer Middle School.  Boggs has served on the Roane County Board of Education since 2010.


Region 6

Joshua J. “Josh” Balcerek, member Wetzel County Board of Education.  Balcerek is serving his first term as a Wetzel County Board member.  He is a New Martinsville native and Magnolia High School graduate. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from West Virginia University in 2002.  He is currently employed as an Area Maintenance Superintendent with Axiall Corporation in Natrium, W. Va.

Michelle Chappell, MS, member Hancock County Board of Education. Chappell is serving her first term as a member of the Hancock County board. She serves as co-chair of Regional Education Service Agency 6 (Northern Panhandle). She has been employed by the American Cancer Society for the past 12 years. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland. Her master’s degree is from the Johns Hopkins University. Chappell resides in New Cumberland with her husband, Chip, and two children.



Christine N. “Chris” Carder. Carder is serving her second term as a member of the Ohio County Board of Education.  She is a graduate of West Liberty State College (BS) and West Virginia University (MA).  A lifelong resident of Wheeling, WV, Chris retired from Ohio County Schools in 2008. During her 38-year career, she served as a teacher, vocational director, elementary, middle School and high school principal.  Following her retirement she was named the Executive Director of the West Liberty University Foundation, a position she held until June of 2016.  She is the mother of two sons, Eric (deceased) and Carl, a resident of Phoenix, AZ. Carder is a member of the Wheeling Rotary, the Women's Giving Circle, Harmony House Auxiliary, and a volunteer reading tutor for Ohio County Schools.

Adam Starks, Ph.D., member of the Barbour County Board of Education. He was elected to this in May. Dr. Starks is employed as an assistant professor of business at Alderson Broaddus University, Philippi. He is author of an autobiography. “Broken Child Mended Man,” which highlights his coming of age as a child in the foster care system. Dr. Starks enjoys spending time with his family, writing, and exercise whenever time permits. He’s been married to his college sweetheart for 14 years and together they have two boys in the public school system along with a daughter well on her way to Kindergarten in a couple years.

J. D. Wilkins, President Pendleton County Board of Education. Wilkins has served as member of the Pendleton County board since 2004. He is a mortgage and commercial loan officer at the Grant County Bank, Petersburg

Editor’s Note: Pierson is filling a positon vacated by Robin Rector who selected not to seek reelection to the Kanawha County Board of Education; Dr. Penix is filling the position of Robert “Bob” Digger O’Dell, a member of the Nicholas County Board of Education who was defeated in the 2016 county board election; Wyatt is filling the position of Rev. Stephen Baldwin, a former member of the Greenbrier County Board of Education who is seeking election of the West Virginia House of Delegates; Boggs is filling a term formerly held by Heather Straight, M.D., president of the Pleasants County Board of Education; Balcerek and Chappell are filling terms formerly held by Jerry Durante (Hancock), who was defeated in the 2016 county board election and Lori Kestner (Marshall) who was elected as WVSBA Financial Officer-Elect in February.

The at-large positions had been vacant for some time.

In other business, delegates:

  • WVSBA’s FY17 budget, noting the organization has 100 percent county board participation. According the WVSBA Executive Director Howard M. O’Cull, Ed.D., West Virginia is one of a handful of National School Boards Association affiliates having 100 percent membership. WVSBA has had 100 percent membership since the late 1990s.
  • Reviewed various county board training programs. Several suggestions were made for strengthening training programs.
  • Discussed preparation of a report based on input received during regional meetings held in July and August concerning sharing of county level administrative services and functions (House Bill 2940). WVSBA is required to provide reportage relating to the meetings.
  • Appointed three subcommittees to examine long-term strategies for association endeavors, including entrepreneurial programs, strategic planning, communications and a committee to examine fiscal issues facing the organization.

In related action taken by the WVSBA Executive Board, the executive director’s proposal for establishing a Citizens Educational Advisory Committee was adopted.

O’Cull is to make a report regarding the proposal by the association’s February 2017 Annual Business Meeting.

For more information, please contact O’Cull at hocull@wvsba.org


Changes in the system for school board members to receive training credits are in the works. The West Virginia School Board Association’s Executive Committee is expected to recommend revisions in the process, and board members might be able to receive information about their training credits as early as January. The Executive Committee will make its recommendations to the County Board Member Training Standards Review Committee (TSRC).

Board members can obtain their required training credits by attending WVSBA-sponsored conferences and workshops, but that is not the only way they can earn credits. The TSRC, which was established by statute, can determine which other organizations may provide training for board members. Board members who want to get training from providers other than the WVSBA must get approval in advance from the TSRC.

Since 1990, county boards of education members have been required to receive seven clock hours of training credits each year, calculated on a fiscal year basis. The WVSBA issues board members with documentation for the training it provides. Other training providers also issue documentation using the same form adopted by the WVSBA.

The WVSBA Executive Committee has been reviewing the procedures used by the TSRC and is expected to recommend revisions to the TSRC.

WVSBA Administrative Assistant Shirley Davidson will send notifications to all county board members about the training credits maintained by the association for the period of July1 through September 30, 2016. They will be sent in hardcopy form, but board members will have the option of receiving future notices by email with copies sent to executive secretaries for their boards and superintendents.

Based on recent action by the Executive Committee, the association is working on developing a platform for members to receive information about training credits online. January 1 is the target date for launching that platform. Each county board member would receive a username and password for access to their training credits information.

Meanwhile, any members who believe there are discrepancies in information they receive from the WVSBA should contact Davidson by email at: sdavidson@wvsba.org.

The next WVSBA-sponsored training is scheduled for November 5 at Stonewall Resort near Roanoke, West Virginia.


The West Virginia School Board Association is preparing to update its directory of county school board members. The directory is updated quarterly.

Information in the directory includes residence or business address, whichever members prefer, and other contact information.

The association’s policy is not to release the information to vendors. However, the information in printed form is made available to state officials and agencies, as well as various public education groups and others, as determined by the WVSBA staff.

The association will send a form in both printed and electronic versions to members by October 31 to gather the information. County board members who do not wish to provide contact information or who wish to provide limited information will have that option.

Most WVSBA communications are provided by electronic means.

County board members are advised to forward updates in terms of preferred mailing addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses throughout the year to Shirley Davidson, WVSBA administrative assistant, at: sdavidson@wvsba.org.


Harold D. Carpenter, who served for 25 years on the Webster County Board of Education, died at his home in Cowen on October 3. At the time of his death, he was president of the school board. He also served on the regional council for Regional Education Service Agency 4.

Carpenter, who was known to his friends as “Bato,” was born in Clarksburg on November 17, 1935. He was 80 years old. He graduated as salutatorian of his class at Cowen High School in 1953. Soon after graduation, he went to work for the B&O Railroad. For 39 years, he worked for the railroad, moving up from clerk to assistant trainmaster and then trainmaster. He retired from the railroad, then CSX, in 1992, but he continued to run trains with his brother-in-law, Max Scott, for the Elk River Railroad.

Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Gwendolyn Johnson Carpenter, one son, two daughters, nine grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Carpenter’s funeral service was held October 8 at Webster County High School. Burial was at West Virginia Memorial Gardens in Calvin. 

Reprinted by permission of Morris Funeral House, Cowen, WV.