The Times West Virginian

Local News

May 6, 2014

BOE gives Price ‘above satisfactory’ evaluation

EFMS tour, Farms to Schools discussed

FAIRMONT — The Marion County Board of Education discussed the progress of several projects under way, which included the superintendent’s evaluation, during Monday’s meeting.

The board went into executive session to collaborate before releasing a statement regarding the outcome of their review of Superintendent Gary Price.

James Saunders delivered the statement on the board’s behalf, which was as follows:

“Superintendent Price has made positive strides in showing growth as our superintendent. He has an open door policy and makes himself available to all. He has developed a strong administrative team. We, the board of education, have given Mr. Price a grade of ‘above satisfactory.’ There are a few areas the board feels needs improvement, but his overall scores were good. Mr. Price was evaluated on his professional characteristics, his relationship with the board, the administration, his current goals and community relations. Marion County schools are better with Mr. Gary Price at the helm.”

Price expressed gratitude toward the board and his staff at the central office who have worked as a team to meet goals and assist him in serving the county.

“I certainly appreciate the opportunity the Marion County Board of Education has given me to lead this county,” Price said. “I have always thought that I would like to be superintendent, but I was only interested in being superintendent in Marion County schools. I’ve not really ever been interested in working anywhere else. It’s nice to know that hard work is recognized and rewarded.”

The board gave some suggestions in clarifying some of his goals, which Price feels is a legitimate concern, he said. He plans to begin correcting the issue immediately.

“Sometimes you know what you want to do, but you haven’t spelled out clearly enough what you’d like to do, so that certainly will be something that can easily be taken care of.”

Price spoke to the board about the progress of East Fairmont Middle School, a project that will soon be completed.

The school’s principal, Christy Miller, invited the board to the school for a walk-through Friday to see the construction efforts firsthand.

“It’s not ready for a public tour at this point,” Price explained. “They still have some things to take care of that would not allow large groups to go through, but the board members are going to be given the opportunity to go through there and we are actually going to start moving teachers’ supplies and equipment in there on Monday.”

He has had many opportunities to tour the building during its various phases of construction and is pleased to be able to view its progress.

“From what I’ve seen, it’s a bright, airy, open space, and I think tax payers and the citizens whose children will be going there will be very pleased when they have an opportunity to tour the school,” he said.

The board expressed concerns, however, regarding the building’s color.

They want to see more gold incorporated into the design and asked Price to address the issue.

Price told the board items will taken from the current East Fairmont Junior High, which used to be East Fairmont High School, as a memorial to that building and to its students and teachers.

A number of bricks from the facility will be saved and used by East Fairmont Middle School, East Fairmont High School and the East Fairmont High School Foundation.

The bell that was formerly in the bell tower and lintels above the doors that have significant inscriptions on them will also go to East Fairmont High School to be used as a memorial.

Another project coming into fruition is the Farms to Schools initiative, which Price hopes to implement in the spring.

The program will allow schools to buy produce, meats and eggs from local farms for lunches, and the central office is working to contact farmers from Marion County who can provide these items.

“We’re especially anxious for any local farmers to contact Terri Atha at the Child Nutrition Office to let her know if they are interested in supplying produce, meats, vegetables, any of those kinds of things that we can use in the school,” said Price.

“It doesn’t have to be that they farm on such a large scale that they can furnish the entire county. We can use smaller amounts, and they might even just be interested in providing some for one school or part of what we would need for one school.”

Price hopes to accomplish several goals with the program.

“First of all, it is critically important to try to get fresh food to our students,” he said.

“Secondly, it’s critically important for students to learn where their food comes from other than just the grocery store. They actually need to learn about the food life cycle.

“Then thirdly, it provides an economic opportunity for our local farmers and may even encourage additional people to go into farming who, perhaps, steered clear of that because they thought it was not financially worthwhile for their investment.”

Email Chelsi Baker at cbaker@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @cbakerTWV.

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