School Board approves student suspensions, staff changes

The Shenandoah County Public Schools Board  approved 365-day suspensions Thursday night for two students.

If the students agree to drug testing and successfully complete education programs the terms of the suspension could be re-evaluated by Superintendent Mark Johnston.

Members discussed the matter in a closed door session before the vote.  Johnston said after the meeting there were no police charges as a result of the matter that lead to the suspension. They did not provide further details.

The board also approved several personnel changes that were recommended by Johnston.

Those included: seven appointments, two transfers, the hiring of seven long term substitutes, seven resignations —  one of which was a teacher and the rest  support staff — 11 coaching appointments and six coaching resignations. They also approved one administrative leave without pay and one dismissal. Johnston also declined to provide further details on the leave and the dismissal.

Members discussed the personnel changes in the same closed door session during which they voted on the student suspensions.

Also occurring at the meeting:

  • The Strasburg High School String Quintet performed two pieces at the beginning of the meeting.

“If they sound this good on 9/14 I can’t imagine what the winter concert will sound like,” Johnston said.

  • Recognition was given to Competent Learner Model coach coordinator in training Julie Neese-Whitaker and Central High School FFA members of the Meats team, who boasted five state proficiency winners.  Strasburg High School had several FFA members recognized as national finalists and recipients of state star awards. Several staff members from Central High School received the 2016-2017 Virginia Index of Performance Board of Education Distinguished Achievement Award and were given a plaque from the state of Virginia.
  • Instructors and students from both the Summer Fine Arts programs and the Summer Health Academy spoke at the meeting about how they have benefited from the programs.
  • Chairwoman Karen Whetzel reminded everyone that school board members will be available at upcoming area question and answer sessions. Katie Freakley and Cynthia Walsh will be at the meeting scheduled for 7 p.m.  Tuesday at the Central Campus at Peter Muhlenberg Middle School. Richard Koontz and Karen Whetzel will be at the 7 p.m. meeting  on the southern  campus at North Fork Middle School on Sept. 26. Sonya Williams-Giersch and Irving Getz will be at the 7 p.m. meeting on  Oct. 5 on the northern campus at Signal Knob Middle School.