PCHS teacher not rehired after emotional hearing
After a three hour hearing and a 30 minute executive session, the board of education voted Monday night to omit Pocahontas County High School Vocational Agriculture teacher Billie Davis from the rehire list.
Several school officials, students and one parent testified, sharing their experiences with Davis as a teacher.
In his testimony, PCHS Principal Tom Sanders explained that his evaluation of Davis began in March 2009, where he found her Instructional Management System unsatisfactory.
Deficiencies he found included inadequate lesson plans, not posting grades on the edline website and safety issues in the shop area.
Sanders said he worked with Davis to assist her in improving her lesson plans and overall classroom management. At that time, Sanders recommended putting her on an improvement plan.
The improvement plan was initiated in October 2009 and observations of Davis continued at a steady pace. Along with Sanders, Marlinton Middle School Principal and former Vocational Agriculture teacher, Joe Riley and Business Education teacher Cammy Kesterson observed Davisﾒ classes.
Throughout the improvement plan, Sanders, Riley and Kesterson had a combined total of 10 observations in Davisﾒ classes.
Per her request, Sanders had Davis observe fellow vocational teacher Duane Gibson to improve her classroom skills. Davis also modeled her lesson plans after Kestersonﾒs to improve the amount of detail.
Although they found some improvements, the trioﾒs final evaluation stated that she had not improved to a satisfactory level.
In her testimony, Davis explained that she felt Sanders targeted her for evaluation because she informed him in November 2008 that she was pregnant out of wedlock. She said she was called out on things that were never an issue prior to his knowledge of her pregnancy.
Davis explained that she was open to the improvement plan and felt she did have room to improve, but felt that Sanders was being overly analytical of her.
In response to the deficiencies, Davis said she had made several changes to her lesson plans and had examples to show her improvement. She explained that technology issues kept her from posting on the edline website, but once her computer was fixed, she returned to posting grades as instructed. She said she addressed the safety issue in the shop and now makes sure that all her students are aware of the risks of each piece of machinery they use and have the proper safety gear.
Davis mentioned two incidents where she was reprimanded by Sanders.
She said a male student she was supervising at a horse judging competition accused her of using a vulgarity when, in fact, it had been the student who had used the word.
Davis explained that she had to reprimand the male student several times on the trip due to his behavior and was informed by officials that if he didnﾒt listen, he or the whole team would be disqualified from the competition.
The student reported Davis to Sanders for using profanity and Sanders conducted an investigation where he interviewed one of the female students present.
Because of the incident, the first improvement plan included that she needed to stop using profanity in front of students. After Davis explained the issue and filed a grievance, the section was removed.
Davis explained that the second reprimand occurred when she repeated a remark a male teacher had made to her about skipping a training session and going to a gentelemenﾒs club instead. On the morning of the training, Davis said she went school in stead of the training because she thought the male teachers had gone without her. As it turned out, Davis had gone to the wrong meeting place.
Whileﾠ she was at school, Davis said, a colleague asked her about her trip. She replied that she thought she was left behind on purpose so that the other teachers could skip the training and visit the gentlemenﾒs club.
Sanders reprimanded her when the male teachers complained that students had heard her comment and they feared it would ﾓgive them a bad name.ﾔ Davis said Sanders did not reprimand the male teacher who had suggested skipping a training session to attend a gentlemenﾒs club. She also said she didnﾒt believe any students were near her when she made the comment.
Davis told the board members that she is prepared to make any changes to improve her teaching skills and that she wants to stay in the county.
ﾓIﾒve built a life here, I plan to raise my son here and put him in the school system,ﾔ she said. ﾓI am willing to do anything to improve and be a better teacher. My students are like my kids, thatﾒs the way I feel about them. I didnﾒt apply for this job, I was called by Mr. Sanders for an interview. After going through several people, it came down to me and I accepted.
ﾓAt that time, I had no money. My family scraped together $200 and sent me down here,ﾔ she continued tearfully. ﾓI donﾒt want to let them down.ﾔ
Others who provided testimony were Riley, Superintendent Dr. J. Patrick Law, PCHS alum Stacy McPaters, parent Tabitha Mann and current student Sarah Shears.
The board was split, 3-2 in the vote.
In other updates:
*Alice Irvine, Associate Superintendent for Operations and treasurer, informed board members that Pocahontas County Schools received two grants.
The Schools and Roads ﾖ Grants to State award in the amount of $562,566.34 was given by the Office of the State Auditor. The funds were allocated to the board for the Federal Award for National Forest Land that the county received from the United States Department of Agriculture.
The second award, also from the Office of the State Auditor, is in the amount of $45,148.73. The funds were allocated to the Pocahontas County Commission as a result of the Minerals Management Service Royalty Management Program from the United States Department of the Interior.
Irvine added that a math textbook meeting will be held March 12 at the board office and the school calendar committee will meet March 15.
*Student representative Cody Perkins introduced his successor, Nathan Hamons, who was chosen by the Pocahontas County High School student body to represent them on the board.
In financial management, the board approved the following:
*Payment of vendor listing of claims in the amount of $28,478.12.
*Payment of vendor listing of claims in the amount of $61,700.77.
In personnel management, the board approved the following:
*Employment of Linda S. Beverage and Cammy J. Kesterson as Co-EDGE Site Coordinators at Pocahontas County High School, effective for the 2009-2010 school year at a stipend of $420 for each individual.
*Employment of Terrence C. Beam as Director of Federal Programs and Instruction for Pocahontas County Schools, effective March 10, 2010, for the remainder of the 2009-2010 fiscal year. Term of employment is 81 days,
five of which are uncompensated days. Salary is based on degree plus experience and a $4,000 supplement prorated by number of days employed. Position to be based at Hillsboro Elementary School until the end of the school year.
*Employment of Terrence C. Beam as Director of Federal Programs and Instruction for Pocahontas County Schools, effective for the 2010-2011 fiscal year. Term of employment is 240 days. Salary is based on degree plus experience and a $4,000 supplement.
In miscellaneous management, the board approved the following:
*Travel requests for March 8, 2010.
*To spend the 2009-2010 School Access Safety allocation of $21,427 as follows: Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, $4,700 for two door access control units; Marlinton Elementary School, $4,678 for doors, hardware and
exit signs and/or one door access control unit; Marlinton Middle School, $4,700 for two door access control units; and Pocahontas County High School, $7,349 for doors and hardware. Hillsboro Elementary School was omitted because of the pending SBA (School Building Authority) needs project funding.
*To convey 0.66 acre to the Trustees of the Church of God, Green Bank, by deed.
*Partnership between the Pocahontas County Parks and Recreation Board and the Board of Education of Pocahontas County to construct a facility to promote the public interest by conducting recreational activities and
*Place on 30-day comment, File: IDDF-R, Education of Students with Exceptionalities.
*Contract between the Pocahontas County Board of Education and Leslie Goodall to provide occupational therapy services to students who have an Individualized Education Program, effective March 9, 2010 through June 30, 2010, at a rate of $60 per hour, not to exceed $6,000.
*Contract between the Pocahontas County Board of Education and Cletis Daniel McKinney for supervision services and training for the mechanics, effective March 2, 2010, and remain in effect until said time as Contractorﾒs services are no longer needed, for no more than 10 days, at $250 per day plus travel and lodging expenses, up to but not to exceed $3,000.
*Contract with Dr. Howard OﾒCull, WVSBA, to assist with the superintendentﾒs search, not to exceed $2,500.
*Chaperone list for Pocahontas County High School, effective for the 2009-2010 school year.