MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Berkeley County Board of Education voted 3-2 last week to not renew the contract of current BCS Superintendent Ron Stephens.

The motion was made by board member Melissa Power and seconded by Jackie Long.

Board President Pat Murphy talked about next steps:

On Friday, May 23rd, a day after making that motion, Melissa Power appeared on Panhandle Live to talk about the decision, specifically the way Superintendent Ron Stephens communicated with the Board of Education about issues.

Power said the Board had to factor students, parents, and those working in county schools into their decision:

The West Virginia Department of Education became aware of issues at North Middle School back in the fall.  In April, the state sent a delegation to the school and reported back conditions that were alarming, including student misbehavior, Title IX violations, and as many as 160 fights up to that point in the school year.

Power said the Board of Education wasn’t given the full picture of the problems from school administration as recently as February.   In an earlier appearance on Panhandle Live in May, Power said a presentation by the school’s principal at the time was misleading.

Last week, Power said Superintendent Ron Stephens should have provided the Board of Education with updates on what the school system was doing to fix problems at the middle school.

Power said there were clearly issues at the Martinsburg school.

Following the Board of Education’s vote, Berkeley County Schools released a statement:

The Berkeley County Board of Education elected in a 3-2 vote on May 23, 2024, to not extend the contract of Superintendent Ronald E. Stephens IV beyond June 30, 2024. Superintendent Stephens remains committed to the students and staff of Berkeley County Schools and will support the transition process as the Board begins its search for a new leader. Superintendent Stephens thanks the entire school community for their support and work towards making Berkeley County Schools the best place to live, learn, and play. ‘I am proud of the work we have accomplished together and have the utmost confidence in the skill and commitment of our teachers, support staff, service, and administrative personnel to ensure a bright future for the students of Berkeley County Schools.’

Superintendent Ron Stephens spoke to the Panhandle News Network at length ahead of Thursday’s vote. He said North Middle has been on the radar of the state Department of Education a number of different times throughout the years.

Power tells the Panhandle News Network work is ongoing now to find a replacement for Stephens, whose last day will be June 30th.


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