Pam Dudding-Burch
Contributing writer

School is ‘in’ and there are many new faces as well as changes within the Craig County Public School System this year.


Though some people say kids don’t care about school, the atmosphere seemed to prove that wrong at the ‘Open House’ on Monday night. Some kids literally ran to their classrooms and to their previous teachers. There were even some teenagers whose smile seemed to grow bigger and show their happiness to be back in school.

“We’ve made some changes that we feel are good for our students here in Craig,” Jeanette Warwick, Superintendent shared. “We have new principals at both McCleary and Craig County High School.”

Gennifer Miller, previously the McCleary Elementary principal, is the new High School principal. “I am excited about the upcoming year and look forward to a successful year,” she said.

Gerri VanDyke, a previous teacher, worked diligently to obtain her Masters Degree in Supervision and Administration from Liberty University in May of this year and earned the privilege of being the new McCleary Elementary principal.

“I am so excited about my new position,” she exclaimed. “It is going to be a great year as McCleary Elementary has an amazing staff, terrific parents and outstanding students and I am so blessed and honored to be a part of the McCleary Family.” VanDyke is also the Supervisor of Special Education where she admits her heart has a tender spot.

Robert Stump, the previous high school principal is taking on a new position as Director of Support Services that entail a list of new opportunities. “I am extremely excited to be able to serve our school division in a new capacity,” Stump shared. “In this new role, I am responsible for the welfare of students in such capacities as guidance, health, attendance, school social work, home bound and home school services.”

“I am also responsible for the division crisis plan and conducting annual training for the faculty and staff, recruitment and training of substitute teachers,” he added. Stump also coordinates inspections and regular patrolling of various facilities and grounds to ensure a safe environment as well as manages and facilitates capital improvement projects.

His title also includes supervising the custodial staff and its budget, and coordinating teacher assistance and guidance, to new or lesser-experienced teachers. “This includes exploring teaching strategies, presenting workshops and seminars to develop teaching skills, observing classes and providing feedback to teachers in their first three years or for those identified as needing additional assistance and also providing orientation to new teachers to school and district policies and procedures,” he said. Foster also serves as the liaison for Foster Care, Homeless and Therapeutic Day Care (Intercept).

“I am truly enjoying this new challenge and see this position as an opportunity to be a positive asset to our school division and the community,” Foster shared.

Miller also shared her excitement of new upcoming ideas. “With the support of the school board and superintendent we are able to bring back pep rallies and several other events that will provide students an opportunity to enjoy all aspects of the school environment,” she shared. “This will be a growing experience that I am looking forward to sharing with the great students, staff and parent community.”

“We have hired several new staff members this year,” Warwick added. “Some are not new to CCPS but are in new positions.”

New staff at McCleary Elementary include: Alexandra VanLuven – Fifth Grade Teacher, Donna Jones – Instructional Assistant and Whitney Stanley – Instructional Assistant.

New staff at CCHS include: Lauren Bayne – Middle School Special Education Teacher, Jeanne Harris – High School Earth Science and Chemistry Teacher, Susan Shea Stimeling – Middle School English, Marcus Phelps – High School English, Cynthia Swiney – High School English, Rachel Wheeler – High School Social Studies and Craig County Digital Academy, Mark Harrison – High School Instructional Assistant and Elizabeth Mabes – Instructional Assistant – Regional Classroom.

New CCPS support staff include: Sandra Jones – Custodian.

School will be closed, Monday, September 4 for Labor Day. Also, the regularly scheduled monthly School Board meeting will be held Tuesday, September 5 at 6:30 p.m. in the Media Room at the Craig County High School.

“We encourage parents and concerned citizens to attend our meetings to help us with creative ideas and wise suggestions to provide the best school system we can,” many teachers and staff shared. “Our goal is the same for these kids — to give them the best opportunity we can while they are in our school.”

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