School board makes major decisions

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Major Decisions Approved by Bedford County School Board includes 4% Pay Raise for Teachers, Awarding Bid for Forest Middle School Expansion, and Nine Administrative Appointments for 2019-20.

By Tom Wilmoth

The Bedford County School Board approved its budget for the 2019-20 school year during a special called meeting on May 1, 2019. Highlights of the budget include accelerating the district’s 1:1 device initiative so that all learners in Grades 6-12 will be issued a Chromebook next school year. Additionally, most Bedford County teachers and support staff will receive a 4% salary increase, and there will be no increases to employee health insurance premiums.
During the same meeting the board awarded the contract for the expansion and renovation of Forest Middle School to Jamerson-Lewis Construction, Inc. Construction is scheduled to begin in late May at the conclusion of the current school year, and the expanded facility is scheduled to be ready for the start of the school year in August 2020.
In its final action of the evening, the School Board approved nine administrative appointments effective July 1, 2019 to fill vacancies and also to support a newly organized central support team. The reorganization of the central support team resulted in a slight savings to the Fiscal Year 2020 budget. These nine appointments included:
• Ms. Jean Marie Johnston, Principal of Liberty Middle School
• Dr. Gennifer Miller, Director of Childhood Learning
• Ms. Kelly O’Neill, Assistant Principal of Forest Middle School
• Mr. Tim Overstreet, Principal of Thomas Jefferson Elementary School
• Ms. Beth Robertson, Associate Director of Student Support Services
• Dr. Shawn Trosper, Principal of Liberty High School
• Ms. Dawn Verhoeff, Assistant Principal of Liberty High School
Empowering Learners for Future Success
• Mr. Brian Wilson, Principal of Jefferson Forest High School
• Dr. Caroline Wray, Associate Director of Innovation
Each of these individuals will be recognized at the board’s next regular meeting, which will take place on May 9, 2019. Detailed biographies of each individual appointed will be shared that evening.
Superintendent Doug Schuch remarked, “I am thrilled with the decisions that our board made this evening in support of the young learners of Bedford County. We are all very grateful to Governor Northam, as well as the members of the Virginia General Assembly and our Bedford County Board of Supervisors, for making teacher compensation a priority in this budget cycle. We are also excited that all of our young learners in Grades 6-12 will be able to learn more effectively through the support of Chromebooks next school year. Additionally, the start of the Forest Middle School expansion project next month represents our renewed commitment to providing facilities that support learning in the future. Just as we saw in our new Liberty Middle School that opened its doors to young learners 10 months ago, we expect the expanded space at Forest Middle School to push the boundaries of conventional school design parameters by focusing on a more learner-centered approach to education. Finally, we are all energized by the individuals appointed tonight to lead many of our schools next school year, as well as the team we have assembled to provide support to our schools as we collectively reimagine education in Bedford County.”