8/2/2017 4:39:00 PM New BCHS Principal Welcomed;
Board OKs Solar Project Change; Media Honored
Members of the Bath County School Board huddle with David Wall, left, of Affordable Energy Concepts as they discuss a change to the installation of solar panels at Valley Elementary School during Tuesday evening’s school board meeting. The school board approved Wall’s proposal that will allow 11 roof penetrations at the school. From left, Wall, Superintendent Sue Hirsh, Roy Burns, Rhonda Grimm, Cathy Lowry and Eddie Ryder. Standing behind those seated is Chairman Bryan Secoy. The project involves installation of solar panels at all three Bath County schools with the array at Valley being the largest. (Larry O’Rourke Photo)
BY LARRY O’ROURKE News Editor WARM SPRINGS — Dr. Michael Perry is the new principal at Bath County High School.
Dr. Perry was introduced during Tuesday evening’s August meeting of the Bath County School Board.
He comes to Bath County from Pulaski County, where he served as principal at three different schools over a 15-year period. He spent the last five years as principal at Dublin Elementary School.
Dr. Perry was raised in Bullitt County, Ky., the middle son of seven children. He said his father had a third grade education and married his mother in France when Paris was liberated during World War II.
Dr. Perry attended the University of Kentucky where he majored in agriculture. He also earned his master’s degree in education from the University of Kentucky.
Dr. Perry taught agriculture in Estill County, Ky., for 21 years before leaving the educational field for a time. Among other endeavors, he owned a farm store before re-entering the education field.
He got back into education through his involvement with the Kentucky Reform Act. The superintendent in Estill County asked him to lead that reform act in their locality.
“Our high school was going to be taken over by the state,” Dr. Perry explained. “She asked me to help turn that around. In two years we went from a School in Crisis to a Distinguished School.”
After this turnaround, he started consulting work. While consulting in New York City, he met a Virginia Tech professor who asked him to join them at Virginia Tech to work on his doctorate.
While at Virginia Tech, he met his wife, and after receiving his degree in 2000, he became the executive director for the Western Virginia Public Education Consortium, which encompasses 19 counties, including Bath. This consortium is based at Radford University.
After serving the Western Virginia Public Education Consortium, he went to work for Pulaski County schools, where he served at three schools.
Dr. Perry started in Bath County on July 10.
“We’re just blessed to be here,” he said.
Also Tuesday evening, the school board approved a change to the solar project that will allow roof penetrations at Valley Elementary School.
David Wall of Affordable Energy Concepts outlined 11 penetrations into the attic at VES that will attribute to higher efficiency for the solar project and actually increase the strength of the roof.
“We don’t want to penetrate the roof, but we do feel like we can do it safely,” he said.
Wall added that the system at VES will be the largest among the three schools. Solar panels at VES will also be installed first.
“I want it to be a clean look,” he said.
Following a motion by Roy Burns to allow the roof penetrations as long as the contract is amended to address any leaks that might occur over the life of the project, the school board voted 4-1 with Eddie Ryder dissenting to allow the VES roof penetrations. Burns also requested periodic status reports on the project.
Ryder said he did not favor any VES roof penetrations.
“I’m skittish about it,” Ryder said.
Wall said he viewed the Bath County solar project as a “pioneer project” for the state of Virginia. Bath County will join Charlottesville as the only school systems in Virginia to implement solar power.
“I want it to be a win,” Wall said. “We want to go to other school systems.”
Burns said he was equally enthusiastic about the project.
“We’re extremely excited about this project,” he said.
Also Tuesday night, Dr. Perry, Millboro Elementary School Principal Allison Hicklin and VES Principal Steve Sizemore reported on the upcoming opening of schools on Aug. 16.
Dr. Perry said eighth grade orientation is scheduled for Aug. 14, and he reported that 86 students will compose the BCHS band.
He and the other principals applauded a new online registration process that has been implemented this year.
“I was very impressed,” he said. “This is going to be a great thing for parents.”
Hicklin said that summer school was successful, and she provided an update on the installation of new locks on classroom doors at MES and VES. She also applauded the efforts of the custodians at all three schools.
“They’ve got about three more weeks’ work to get done in the next week and a half, but I have no doubt they will get that done,” she said.
Sizemore said the recently-concluded Bath County Art Show at VES was quite successful. He reported on repairs to the gym floor at Valley and the installation of an HVAC unit at the school.
Sizemore applauded the efforts of school system employees and the work of the Bath County School Board.
“The team that is being built here is phenomenal,” Sizemore said. “I’ve never looked forward to a school year like I have this year.”
In other business Tuesday night, the Bath County School Board:
— received an update on Standards of Learning accountability reports;
— adopted a Virginia School Boards Association policy regarding school meals and snacks;
— accepted a bid from Staunton Foods in the amount of $68,682 for the School Nutrition Program;
— approved times and venues for school board meetings from January through June 2018;
— recognized BCHS baseball coach Kris Phillips, who was named the Pioneer District coach of the year last spring, and Hunter Brown, who was named the Pioneer District player of the year;
— recognized Steve and Code Sizemore, who served as presenters and represented the Steering Committee this summer on the Margaret S. Copenhaver Institute for Teaching and Learning at Roanoke College;
— recognized Ed Ozols and Kristy Pasco, both of whom proposed a presentation for the annual VSBA Conference on Education in Richmond. They presented their proposal five times, sharing information on Bath County’s wind project;
— presented VSBA Media Honor Roll recognitions to Geoff Hamill of The Recorder, Amanda McGuire of Allegheny Mountain Radio and Larry O’Rourke of the Virginian Review.