The Times West Virginian

Local News

April 28, 2014

Dragich: Reduce stress level of teachers

Former principal candidate for Marion County BOE

FAIRMONT — Thomas Dragich is running for Marion County Board of Education. He represents the Middletown district and lives on East Park Avenue. He holds a bachelor of science and a master’s degree from West Virginia University. Dragich has been teaching since 1969, when he began his career as a substitute teacher in Marion County.

He became assistant principal at Fairmont Senior High in 1970 and started as principal at

East Fairmont High in 1991.

Dragich served two years as co-chair of the West Virginia University Benedum Collaborative Cross-site Committee. He also served two years as a member of the WVU Benedum Collaborative Advisory Council for the Benedum Foundation. He was a member of the West Virginia Department of Education Schools of Excellence Review Team from 2002-2006.

In terms of facilities needs in Marion County, Dragich believes schools need to stay in their communities.

“It is my feeling that the board needs to do whatever it takes to make that happen,” he said.

The Comprehensive School Facilities Plan has established the need for a new middle school in the North Marion attendance area as the top priority, he said.

The biggest educational need in the classroom is to reduce the stress level of teachers, said Dragich.

“The State Department of Education has jumped on far too many educational bandwagons, causing continual change,” he said. “There are very talented and committed educators within our Curriculum Department. We need to utilize their talents and vision. They are able to develop programs suited for Marion County. We need to become the destination for other systems to emulate.”

Regarding staffing, the needs are determined by student population, causing a continuous process administrators deal with every year, Dragich explained.

“I have a great deal of respect for their work,” he said. Dragich believes there needs to be a review of counselor positions at all levels.

“They are doing more testing, with more paperwork, leaving little time for counseling,” he said.

Dragich was second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Adjutant General’s Corps in 1967. He also served as a personnel officer for the U.S. Army Aviation School in Fort Rucker, Alabama, from 1967-1969 and was awarded the U.S. Commendation Medal in May 1969.

He was a member of the Marion County Red Cross board of directors for four years and served as chairman for two years. He was chairman of the North Central West Virginia Chapter of the American Red Cross from 2003-2006.

He is also a member of many organizations and community service efforts, including the East-West Stadium Turf Project Committee, the Op-Shop board of directors, the MVA Fairmont Clinic board of directors and the Stepping Stones board of directors. He also volunteers at the Soup Opera and Meals on Wheels.

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

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