Recently, The Clendenin Leader sat down with Briana Warner, Communications Director of Kanawha County Schools and Brette Fraley, Executive Director of Kanawha County Schools Pupil Transportation to address the bus driver shortage at the Elkview School Bus Terminal in Elkview, West Virginia.
Below is the full interview where you can learn more about this issue that has been in the news and the topic of online conversation.
We also touched on the change in start time that many parents on Elk River have been vocal about, especially as the weather begins to turn cooler and winter will be upon us.
We will continue to follow this story so be sure to stay connected to The Clendenin Leader and get engaged and let us know what you think about this these important issues related to our children and schools.
On October 13-14th, 2018, Clendenin Homecoming Festival Teen Queen-Lauren Gorman will be competing in the Miss West Virginia Teen USA competition held at the Creative Arts Center Lyell B Clay Theatre at West Virginia University. Lauren has placed in the Top 5 for the last two years at this pageant and was third runner-up last year. According to pageant director, Heather Rouch, “This year Lauren is in a great position to take the crown. If she does, she would then go on to represent at the Miss Teen USA pageant.”
Lauren is a scholar athlete and currently attends Roane County High School where she is a senior. She is actively involved in Varsity Volleyball and will also be leaving next week to prepare for New York Fashion Week where she is modeling for several designers.
Rouch indicated that sponsors are required for the competition. The Clendenin Homecoming Festival will be paying for her entry fee to compete; however, Lauren will need to prepare for competition and will need a wardrobe as well as beauty expenses. According to Rouch, sponsors will be listed in the official program, on the Miss Teen WV USA website as Lauren’s sponsor, and will be promoted on Gorman’s social media for the entire term of her reign. In addition, Gorman will be available for appearance opportunities.
Rouch stated, “Lauren is one of the most unique and amazing young women I’ve ever encountered. I could not think of a better person to represent our state at the Miss Teen USA pageant. She has been a wonderful representative for Clendenin and we are all so proud of her and can’t wait to see what she accomplishes in the future.”
If you are interested in helping to sponsor Clendenin Homecoming Festival Teen Queen, Lauren Gorman, to compete in the Miss West Virginia Teen USA Pageant, contact Heather Roush at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Clendenin Leader recently reached out to Briana Warner, Communications Director with Kanawha County Schools to learn more about the bus shortage that is currently affecting the Elk River area.
According to Warner the Elkview bus garage is the largest terminal in Kanawha County and is currently operating with a 35% shortage of drivers/runs being taken every day.
We offered Warner the opportunity to offer a statement to help the Elk River Community understand what exactly is going on and what they can do to help.
Here is the current list of open runs (meaning no permanent full-time assigned driver) or ones that cannot be run due to no drivers:
709 / 702 / 1103 /1109 / 1121 / 1114 / 1118 / 1204 / 1205 / 1211 / 1212 / 1213 / 1214 / 1215 / 1218 / 1219/ 1221 = total of 17 runs. “To break it down farther if you estimate 50 students per run x 3 runs per morning and 3 runs per afternoon = around 5,000 seats that cannot be offered to our students”, said Warner.
Currently, KCS has multiclass employees (mechanics, technicians, other transportation staff) running 1204, 1211, 1212, 1213, 1214.
The Kanawha County Board of Education and the Executive Director of Transportation are working on streamlining the training process so that they can maintain training and safety standards, but also move interested applicants through the process more quickly.
Anyone interested in becoming a bus driver can apply here:
A training class begins on Monday, Sept. 10 and they are working on further training classes now.
We have received several comments from concerned parents about the later start time in Kanawha County and asked Warner to comment on that issue as well.
Warner stated, “All of this is happening separately from the bell schedule change. If we ran last year’s schedule, we would be in a worse situation with more problems. This year’s schedule was designed for efficiency, but due to the shortage, we are not able to run as it is designed.”
Warner provided us the following link with additional details regarding the bus driver shortage and encourages everyone to take time to review.
Earlier this month, the Board of Education called it “a problem of crisis proportions.” Nearly half of the mathematics teaching positions at the high school – vacant
ROANE COUNTY, W.Va. (WCHS/WVAH) — Earlier this month, the Roane County Board of Education called it “a problem of crisis proportions.” Nearly half of the mathematics teaching positions at the high school – vacant. School officials are carefully weighing their options, looking for the solution to filling those positions.
Grandfather Robert Parrish still has some time before Niyah and Blake attend Roane County High School, but that doesn’t mean he’s not concerned about the county’s teacher shortage now.
“Finding math teachers is always a hard position anyway. Even going back 40 years, I know that was my hardest subject,” Parrish said.
Hiring those who are qualified is an equation of its own. But Superintendent Dr. Richard Duncan said…
The Kanawha County Board of Education Wednesday hired away an architect on the new Herbert Hoover High who’s also a board member’s relative, and heard no protected bats were found on planned properties for Hoover and the consolidated Bridge/Clendenin elementary.
The elementary school is expected to open in fall 2020, and the new Hoover school in fall 2021.
Charles Wilson, the county school system’s executive director of facilities planning, said he doesn’t expect the absence of bats to move up completion by an entire school year, but perhaps could allow a mid-year finish.
The school board voted 4-0 to hire Charleston-based Williamson Shriver Architects employee Andrew Crawford, effective Aug. 13, as one of the county’s two facility planning coordinators. Board member Jim Crawford, who recused himself from the vote, said Andrew Crawford is his brother’s grandson.
Carol Hamric, Kanawha’s human resources executive director, said…
CLENDENIN, W.Va. – The West Virginia State Board of Education voted to close Bridge Elementary at their monthly meeting on July 11, 2018. This vote allows Bridge to be merged into the new Clendenin Elementary School.
The WVBE voted to close Bridge Elementary School and Merge Bridge Elementary School into New Clendenin Elementary School
According to Jeff Jenkins, reporter with WCHS News Network, stated in his latest article, “The vote was approval of a change in the Kanawha County school system’s facilities plan.”
Clendenin Elementary was destroyed in the June 2016 flood and has been a tremendous loss to the Clendenin community. Since then, students have been attending school in portables that were constructed to accommodate them at the current Bridge Elementary location in Elkview. The two schools will become one once the new building is constructed. It’s expected to be completed by the fall of 2020.
The West Virginia Library Commission has presented $187,180 in state grants to 47 public libraries in the state. The grants were awarded in June, based on facility, programming, and collections proposals from each library. The maximum award is $5,000 per library.
29 grants were awarded for facility maintenance, nine for collection development, nine for programming improvements, and 3 for other service enhancements. Clay County Public Library was among those allotted funds, and received $5,000.
“These grants reflect the critical needs in West Virginia’s public libraries,” said Karen Goff, Executive Secretary of the WVLC. “They will allow libraries to improve their facilities, as well as enhance the programs and services they provide to state residents.”
Herbert Hoover High School Coach Missy Smith. Photo Courtesy of Beth Strawn.
CLENDENIN, W.Va. – Herbert Hoover softball coach Missy Smith and her Lady Huskies officially hit the national stage with their victory over Hurricane earlier this season according to MaxPreps softball sports writer, Tom Mauldin. Mauldin reached out to The Clendenin Leader on Friday after multiple failed attempts to contact Coach Smith to share the exciting news that MaxPreps was officially naming Smith the 2018 National Softball Coach of the Year. After successfully connecting Mauldin and Smith to do an interview we could hardly contain ourselves to share in this honor that was bestowed on Coach Smith and to hear her reaction firsthand.
I waited until the next day to give Coach Smith some time to let the news sink in after her interview with Mauldin. Admittedly, I was a little nervous prepping for the interview because after hearing the news myself I knew just how big this was going to be for Coach Smith, her team and the entire Elk River community. This is a very big deal! Mauldin said it best, “There are more than 20,000 public high schools in the U.S. and thousands of private schools. Coach of the Year honor doesn’t get any bigger than this.”
(left to right) Taylor Carpenter, Megan Seafler, Coach Missy Smith and Rebekah Woody. Photo courtesy of Beth Strawn.
Coach Smith and the Lady Huskies’ community impact
Needless to say my first question to Coach Smith was to capture the impact this award had on her personally in being recognized as National Softball Coach of the Year. Smith said, “It’s nice and I always appreciate it, but I like it better when the girls get recognized. A good coach is one thing but you don’t win these awards or get recognized unless you have great players and great people behind you. It’s really not just my award, it is everybody’s.”
Since the 2016 flood that devastated the Town of Clendenin, Elkview and the surrounding area, the Lady Huskies have brought home back-to-back state championships. Their third title in five years. This team has been a beacon of light and hope for a community that has endured so much over the past two years. The one thing I noticed in talking with Delani Buckner and Coach Smith is their poise in handling their success, while keeping the bigger picture in perspective knowing they are not only playing for themselves, they are playing for the entire community.
Smith added, “I think it allows us to understand that we (community) are bigger than just us. We are a small school in West Virginia but we have great players and great support in our area. You don’t have to be from a huge school in another state to be recognized for the great things that you do. I feel like we are a rallying point for everyone. I said the same thing when we won in 2014 and again in 2017 and 2018, the state championship belongs to the whole community, not just the girls on the field. It’s for anyone that has ever worn the Hoover uniform, for anyone that has been to a Hoover game, or help coach, or drug a field, or threw a batting practice. It belongs to everyone, no matter how small, that has helped the Hoover program.”
Volunteers Helping Clean-up and Repair Michael Chandler Field after 2016 Flood. Photo courtesy of Kellie Baker.
The announcement of her award comes just two years after the 2016 floods that completely destroyed Herbert Hoover High School. The entire athletic complex was flooded. The clean-up and repairs took several months to get the sports facilities ready for the upcoming school year. As reported by Charleston Gazette-Mail reporter Derek Redd in his June 22, 2017 article ‘Herbert Hoover showed resiliency, found success in face of tragic floods“, you can gain a sense of how the odds were stacked against the entire community. Elkview Middle School became the new Herbert Hoover High School in the afternoons, while the middle school students went during the morning. It took over a year
Herbert Hoover High School with Elkview Middle School in the background. Photo by Mark Burdette.
before portables were built in the parking lot of the middle school, which is now the temporary home of Herbert Hoover High School. Amidst the chaos which had become a constant for them, and against all odds – sharing space with the middle school because they lost their school and some lost so much more – I asked Coach Smith how her team found a way to stay focused and achieve this level of success, while the world surrounding them was completely destroyed. Smith said, “They are resilient. Whatever you create for your new normal you adapt to. Hoover softball has been Hoover softball since Mike Chandler started the program and the expectations have been the same. It may be a different venue or a different time but the expectations were the same and they knew they could count on their sponsor, their coach, their teammates to help them through whatever they need to get through.”
Hoover stuns Hurricane
Herbert Hoover Softball Coach Missy Smith Congratulating Her Players. Photo courtesy of Beth Strawn.
The Clendenin Leader is new to the community and even though we know or know of the people we interview it still takes time to build rapport and to get up to speed with all the backstory. The Lady Huskies have kept the local media on their toes with their amazing undefeated run this past season. It was important to me with this opportunity to interview Coach Smith and reflect back to the turning point in the season when Hoover stunned Hurricane on a Thursday night in May. Smith added, “The longer that game went on and we were able to stay ahead and keep Hurricane off the base path and play good defense, you could see our confidence building. We had a good record going into that game and everybody knew that we were good, but that was really a confidence boost for us that we could finish it out and be undefeated.” Smith went on to explain that some believed their winning streak was due to a weaker strength of schedule, but the win over Hurricane gave the team the additional confidence they needed.
The Huskies shutout the Redskins, the defending Class AAA state champion five out of the last six years, who only managed just three hits against undefeated pitcher, Delani Buckner. Buckner struck out nine and walked one to lead her team to a 3-0 victory. According to Mauldin, beating Hurricane was when Hoover started to show up on his radar at the national level. After the shutout win Buckner said, “It was wild. We knew it was going to be a tough game. Hurricane knew us very, very well and we knew we had to come in focused. It felt pretty good
Herbert Hoover High School Pitcher Delani Buckner. Photo courtesy of Beth Strawn.
but we knew that we weren’t giving up just yet.” Meaning there was more work for them to do to defend their Class AA crown. They ended up doing just that, repeating as Class AA champions for the second year in a row by defeating Chapmanville at the state tournament, and finished No. 5 in the nation in MaxPreps final poll.
Coach Smith on Delani Buckner
As reported earlier by Mauldin with MaxPreps and the follow-up story I did on MaxPreps Sophomore All-American Delani Buckner, Coach Smith had these words to say about her star pitcher, “I’m happy for Delani being recognized but I don’t want to lose sight of all the girls because I’m proud of each and every one of them, the coaching staff, the community and the administration. One of things about Delani is that she doesn’t realize how good she is and she is always very supportive of her teammates. We can’t do it without her and she knows we can’t do it without them. One of the things I appreciate about our whole team is that they recognize that they need each other.”
A glimpse into the 2019 season
It was no secret to those who followed high school softball in West Virginia that Coach Smith was doing something very special at Hoover. The Lady Huskies were dominating the competition in every game. I asked Coach Smith what she attributed to their dominance on the softball field over their opponents this past year. Smith said, “A lot of it is the hard work these girls put into the off-season playing travel ball and working in the batting cages all winter. When we started in March we were already in mid-season form and kept going from there. This is a very tight knit group of young ladies. They genuinely care about each other and want each other to succeed and do well. When it goes beyond team you start to play selfless because you are playing for your sister and the other team members. Makes it easy to coach a team like that.”
Teams have to be worried knowing the formula that Coach Smith described above is going to be a tall order come next season. Hoover graduated four seniors, Buckner will be a junior and there are four freshman coming up from
MaxPreps 2018 National Softball Coach of the Year. Photo courtesy of Beth Strawn.
Elkview Middle School who have a lot of promise. According to Smith, the biggest challenge going into next season will be managing that confidence, cocky kind of line. Smith added, “I want them to play with great confidence but I don’t want them to get overblown egos and start to be cocky. That is when you let a game slip through your fingers that you could win and I don’t want to be in that spot. Going into next season everybody has to get better. Nobody can be where we were at the end of last year and expect to pick back up and be successful next year. The Saturday after the state tournament we had one girl in a summer tournament and most of the girls competed the following Saturday playing and working hard in the off-season so we are ready to go come next Spring.” “From the second the last pitch was thrown at the state tournament, along with a couple of hours celebrating our victory, I’m already thinking what we need to do for next season.”
A dynasty and legacy being built right before our eyes
Smith played volleyball, basketball and softball (CF, SS) during her high school career for the Lady Huskies from 1993-1996. She graduated from Hoover in 1996. For those of you who don’t know she is a 7th grade science teacher at Elkview Middle School, as well as head volleyball coach for the George Washington High School Patriots based in Charleston, WV since 2005. Smith mentioned the tremendous support from the administration, especially Hoover’s principal Mike Kelly. She said, “Michael Kelly has done a tremendous job restoring pride and expectation to Hoover. Ever since Kelly took over we have seen great successes in the classroom and on the athletic field. As a former student-athlete at Hoover it’s been really nice to see.”
Smith is only the second head coach in Hoover softball history. Mike Chandler started the program in 1987 and coached 19 seasons, won over 400 games, made 3 state tournament appearances with one 3rd place and two runner-up finishes. Smith was an assistant coach under Chandler for two and a half seasons before taking over the reigns in 2006. Smith has amassed a 281-94 (.749 winning percentage) record along with 3 Class AA state championships (2014, 2017-2018) at Hoover. Smith reflected saying, “Chandler literally built our field from the ground up with his bare hands. He definitely laid the foundation. I couldn’t be as successful as I am without what he had done first.” Today where the Lady Huskies play their home games is aptly named, Mike Chandler Field.
When I personally congratulated Smith on her award and the success she and her team has had since winning their first state championship in 2014. She said, “It’s been a pretty good run.” Coach Smith, I concur and the many lives you have touched over the years would agree as well.
Herbert Hoover Huskies Region 2 Champs. Photo courtesy of Beth Strawn.
Be sure to checkout other national and local media coverage of this amazing honor for Herbert Hoover High School softball coach Missy Smith.
Delani Buckner winding up to deliver a pitch. Photo Courtsey of Beth Strawn.
CLENDENIN, W.Va. – Tom Mauldin with MaxPreps unveiled Thursday their 2018 national high school underclass softball All-Americans. It comes as no surprise to see our very own Delani Buckner on the list.
“Buckner (P) led the Huskies to a 33-0 record and the Class AA state championship when she compiled a 21-0 record with a 0.39 ERA. She struck out 239 batters and issued 28 walks in 125 innings. Add to that, she had a .351 batting average and 19 RBIs” according to MaxPreps.
I had an opportunity to speak with Delani to reflect back on the amazing year she and her teammates had in winning back-to-back state championships, their third in five years. When asked what it meant to be personally recognized on a national level she said, “It was a pretty out-of-this-world feeling.” Buckner went on to add, “I don’t think I would be recognized at this level if it weren’t for my team and my coaches and us being so well received.”
Delani Buckner pitching. Photo courtesy of Beth Strawn.
The impact these young athletes currently have on our community through their hard work and success is nothing short of spectacular. Buckner added, “We are very close knit and if someone gets an award or the team gets an award it’s like the community getting an award as well.” There is no doubt Delani and her teammates are very aware how much they mean to our community and how proud we are of them and their accomplishments on and off the field.
The Lady Huskies totally dominated this season and Buckner attributes her and her team’s performance this past year to confidence. Buckner said, “We never doubted ourselves, we were there for each other and picked each other up if we were having a bad day. Our coaches believed in us no matter what day it was or who we were playing.”
According to softball writer Tom Mauldin with MaxPreps, Hoover started to receive national attention after their victory over Hurricane earlier this year. After beating Hurricane, Buckner stated, “It was wild. We knew it was going to be a tough game. Hurricane knew us very, very well and we knew we had to come in focused. It felt pretty good but we knew that we weren’t giving up just yet.”
Despite being a young team there is a noticeable confidence about this team going into next year that will be on everyone’s radar. Buckner said, “We know we are going to have a huge target on our back. A lot of teams are going to be focused on getting a hit off us and wanting to beat us. Coming off a perfect season we know it will be tough to keep it going.”
As we were reflecting back on the success that she and her team had this year Delani wanted to share a few comments directed towards the Elk River community. “I want to tell the community thank you for all their endless support and staying up to 1:00 a.m. to watch us play Chapmanville in the state tournament. It truly means a lot to us and I just wanted to thank you for everything.”
Herbert Hoover Softball Community. Photo courtesy of Beth Strawn.
The future is definitely bright for Delani, but maybe not so bright for the batters that will have to face her over the next two years. We will be looking forward to next season with great anticipation and wish the Lady Huskies continued success.
To see the complete list of juniors, sophomores and freshman stars across the nation including the 2018 MaxPreps National Junior Player of the Year read the full article by Tom Mauldin on MaxPreps.
The Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter at Clay County High School has done it again!
For years now, our FFA students have been in the news finishing top in their class in contests that deal with farm management and other genres dealing with wildlife, plants, soil management and grassland conditions. Earlier this year, students from CCHS competed in the West Virginia Grassland Evaluation Contest at WVU Jackson’s Mill. This contest, as well as the national contest, was developed due to the need for better knowledge of grassland management. This is a serious need in our country due to the ever growing problems of pollution and wise uses of grassland will improve water quality and the overall health of a population. Productive land will benefit people in the country as well as the city.
For a person to survive, there are two needs – fresh water and food. Without proper land management of grass lands and forests, our ability to survive becomes problematic. Our food and water supplies are essential, always have been and must be protected. At Jackson’s Mill, students pitted their abilities against…